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Second Academia Meets Industry seminar tackles sustainable finance

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Publié le mardi 06 avril 2021

For the second edition of the Academia Meets Industry seminar series, the Department of Finance at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance partnered with EY Luxembourg for a half-day hybrid conference on the topic of sustainable finance. This event was organised in the framework of the Sustainable Finance Chair, which is supported by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development.

Prof. Ulf von Lilienfeld-Toal, head of the Department of Finance, opened the conference by welcoming the 140 participants and introducing the speakers, each from very diverse backgrounds and sectors of activity. Dr. Thomas Gibon (LIST), the first speaker, laid a scientific foundation for the discussions to follow by demonstrating that we are at a point of no return in the climate change crisis. Dr. Gibon noted that it is not sufficient to rely solely on the public sector and that corporate actors are essential to deploying a strategy. “We can’t save the planet without the support of the financial system”, Dr. Gibon commented.

The first panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Peter Mathis, research scientist within the Department of Finance with participation of Renaud Breyer (EY), Marc Daubenfeld (Glacier Capital) and Maxim Strauss (Cargolux) asked the question of how ESG affects a firm’s operational and investment decisions and if ESG can be a source of value creation itself, with panelists speaking from lived experience within their firms. 

In the second panel discussion, moderated by Assistant Professor François Koulischer, panelists Nicoletta Centofanti (Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Initiative), Maarten Vleeschhouwer (2 Degree Investing Initiative), Claude Wampach (CSSF) and

Natalie Westerbarkey (Fidelity International) spoke about the regulatory difficulties associated with the measurement, reporting and disclosure of ESG-related data, including non-financial data. With representatives from non-profit, regulator, and industry backgrounds, the discussion was well-rounded and productive, with Ms. Westerbarkey noting, “All actors are working towards a commun objective.”

 The half-day conference culminated in a keynote speech by Prof. Zacharias Sautner from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Prof. Sautner, who works in the area of empirical corporate finance and focuses on ESG, climate finance, and corporate governance, presented his recent research on climate risk disclosure and institutional investors and the resulting conclusions.