The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

‘The same steps that cut carbon emissions also drive economic growth’ – Michael Bloomberg

Albert Galea Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 18:26 Last update: about 9 days ago

The second day of FinanceMalta's 13th Annual Conference saw an address by Michael Bloomberg, where he emphasised on the importance of cutting carbon emissions as the world looks to align towards becoming greener and more environmentally friendly.

The first panel of the day focused on sustainable finance and assuming responsibility. The panel delved into the need to take climate change as an international responsibility, with the European Green Deal being at the core of attainable a sustainable financial system as a long term investment.

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The panel was made up of Carlos Joly – Fellow CISL, Cambridge University, Former Chair UNEP FI, Co-Chair Expert Group that drafted UN PRI, and CEO of a fund manager; David Uzsoki – Senior Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development; Simon Zammit – CEO, Malta Stock Exchange; and Malcolm Falzon – Partner, Camilleri Preziosi Advocates.

It was moderated by Simone Giudici, who is an Application Specialist at Bloomberg.

The panel also saw a video message on the subject by Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th Mayor of New York City, on the topic.

In his message, Bloomberg said that the Covid-19 pandemic is a huge challenge to every industry and region, but noted that it’s also an opportunity to build a more sustainable and resilient economy.

“Fact is the same steps that cut carbon emissions also drive economic growth”, Bloomberg said.

He said that Bloomberg is committed to doing its part. “Just to give you some examples: we helped to lead the task force on climate-related financial disclosures. It helps companies measure and report climate risks which help investors make smart decisions. We provide customers with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data on thousands of companies, and our foundation Beyond Coal (Carbon) initiative is helping to speed the transition to clean power around the world.”

“The more we work together, the stronger we will bounce back from the pandemic and the brighter our future will be”, he concluded.

During the discussion, Joly said that Environment, Social and Governance principles and sustainable finance would not be possible if we do not improve our environmental and social conditions.

Implementing sustainable investment, Joly said, is possible through two means; lobbying with companies and policymakers, or through portfolio composition, with these portfolios being made up of companies which are in line with the European Green Deal and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Zammit meanwhile said that while it is true that extra layers of compliance may add extra costs, he believes that the requirements for companies to be in line with green criteria and to prove that they are in line with this said criteria is the right way to go about these matters.

Falzon said that Covid-19 will have a significant impact on most sectors, and that we need a recalibration of priorities and a re-think of how things are done, with ESG principles at their core.

He emphasised on education, saying that this is a new sector for many and that there needs to be a major effort by stakeholders to come together and explain to prospective borrowers and investors that these principles are there for a reason; that we need to think sustainably and do things differently.  This has to be a long-term realisation, he said.

A second panel, titled Tax: Quo Vadis, was also held, looking into a number of global reports, international discussions and legal requirements such as DAC6 and Pillar II show that taxation in most countries will experience a transformation.  

Aldo Farrugia – Director General (Legal & International), Office of the Commissioner for Revenue, Malta; Ramona Piscopo – Tax Partner, Piscopartners; Geraldine Schembri – Partner, EMCS; and John Vella – Associate Professor of Tax Law, University of Oxford made up the panel.

FinanceMalta’s 13th Annual conference will conclude on Thursday with sessions delving into innovation in the new decade, asset management, and insurance.

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