Forum Agenda | What to expect in 2024

The Sustainable Investment Forum North America 2024 will feature 20 outcome-driven sessions and 12 roundtable discussions.  This year, the agenda will include high-level panel discussions, keynotes, fireside chats, and audience participation through Q&A sessions.

The forum will address the critical issues for investors in North America, including strategies for investors to integrate climate risks and opportunities into portfolios; the operational, reputational, and political fallout from anti-ESG measures; and whether nature-based carbon offsets offer a crucial interim solution.

Panel at the Sustainable Investment Forum North America 2023

Sustainable Investment Forum North America 2024 Agenda

09:00 
– 09:05 EDT

Welcome Address UNEP FI

09:05 
– 09:15 EDT

Keynote

09:15 
– 09:25 EDT

Headline Partner Opening Keynote

09:25 
– 10:05 EDT

Panel | What do leading investors in North America need from policymakers on net zero? Examining levels of collaboration and engagement across regions and assets to turn net zero ambitions into action

  • While banks remain a key enabler in the net‐zero transition, they should not be the sole active player – examining how the success of these efforts is also deeply dependent on supportive government policies and proactive decarbonisation by real economy companies
  • For financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies and investment managers, scope 3 emissions from supply chains and lending/investment portfolios are often more complex than for other industries. Financing the from transition finance to risky mitigation and adaptation techniques- how are these being managed regionally in the US and Canada?
  • Examining capital deployment strategies will require a collaborative effort among all stakeholders, alongside dedicated fiscal and regulatory tools and risk-sharing financial mechanisms such as blended finance
10:05 
– 10:15 EDT

Keynote Interview

10:15 
– 10:30 EDT

Climate Leaders Insight Interview 1

10:30 
– 11:05 EDT

Morning Break

11:05 
– 11:45 EDT

Panel | Taking a strategic approach to decarbonising investments across assets

Financial institutions have options when trying to reduce their financed emissions. For example, they can engage with their portfolio companies to support emission reduction targets in line with climate science. They can also divest from high-emitting industries such as thermal coal production. When developing an investment decarbonisation approach aligned with +1.5°C of warming, financial institutions should also consider both “just transition” approach, where no-one is left behind in the decarbonised economy, and a short-term return on investment while reducing warming to below 1.5°C.

A strong decarbonisation strategy may see a blended approach between divesting assets and then working with other portfolio companies to decarbonise, depending on the ownership and control of the financial institution on the one hand and the willingness and ability to transition, on the portfolio company side.

Aligning an investment strategy with these new technologies, opportunities and risks can reduce the impacts of climate change, and also reduce a lender’s exposure to the increased risks associated with increased fire risk, flooding and drought.

11:45 
– 12:05 EDT

Sustainable Investment Dialogue | Voluntary Carbon Markets and carbon offsets- increased momentum and appetite post COP28? A source of funding for nature based solutions?

Government officials, conservation organisations and industry groups have sought to revive confidence in the unregulated voluntary carbon market at COP28 amid concerns it does little to mitigate the climate crisis or the destruction of nature. The sector is wrestling with human rights concerns, and a lack of clarity about financial flows. At COP 28 there was an agreement among standards organisations, international bodies, civil society, governments, and corporations – that an effective carbon market is an irreplaceable and critical component of addressing the climate challenge. As the carbon market is at an inflection point does it deserve a scientifically robust assessment to support its improvement? Considering the long-term nature of the energy transition, as well as the ongoing high usage of fossil-fuel energy in Europe, the question of voluntary carbon-trading mechanisms becomes critical to offsetting emissions, especially during the transition period.

12:05 
– 12:20 EDT

Climate Leader Insight Interview

12:20 
– 13:00 EDT

Panel | Natured based solutions: Biodiversity and the blue economy- nurturing nature and building resilience into ecosystems to deal with extreme weather events

The material impact of deforestation across portfolios and asset classes- how biodiversity can unlock gains in green infrastructure- protecting biodiversity ultimately leads to enhanced asset value

Deforestation – a material risk for investors- reputational and legal risks

How are investors managing nature related risks and opportunities across their organisational strategy- stewardship, stakeholder engagement and disclosure? It can facilitate a nature-positive transition, by transforming the way it allocates capital and developing new models to allow institutional investors to price biodiversity risks and opportunities more accurately across portfolios. Assessing the material risks facing financial institutions and the compounding climate risks

13:00 
– 14:00 EDT

Networking Lunch

14:00 
– 14:10 EDT

Keynote

14:10 
– 14:25 EDT

Climate Leader Insight Interview 3

14:25 
– 15:00 EDT

Panel | How can physical climate risk mitigation, adaptation and resilience techniques be fully understood and integrated into the decision-making process?

Physical Climate Risk- adaptation to the systemic risks posed by physical climate risk- from top-down asset allocation and risk management to bottom-up security selection. From floods affecting housing prices to changes in ecosystems affecting agriculture productivity — climate change is the cause of macroeconomic shocks. Some impacts on major sectors exports can affect a country’s trade balance and capital flows. Central Government’s investing in adaptation and resilience is on top of existing contingent liabilities and current debt levels to create further pressure on public finances. The combination of these factors may result in new risks for macroeconomic stability, public finances and debt sustainability, and the broader financial sector globally Governments will need to manage these risks.  There is much uncertainty around macroeconomic estimates of future climate change impacts, strategies to build the resilience of the economy, especially through appropriate diversification of the economic structure to encourage investors and governments to work collaboratively to align with climate targets and mitigate against physical climate risk.

15:00 
– 15:50 EDT

Afternoon Break

Double materiality, in essence, reflects the new practical nature of sustainability reporting and the recognition that impact, and financial reporting are interconnected and that reporting ideally should be one holistic process. For more information on taking this approach, Double materiality, in essence, reflects the new practical nature of sustainability reporting and the recognition that impact, and financial reporting are interconnected and that reporting ideally should be one holistic process. (CSRD will bring a new approach to reporting. Under the principle of “double materiality,” the framework reflects a significant shift, particularly for U.S. issuers accustomed to reporting under financial materiality standards. In addition, companies will be required to seek limited assurance over the materiality analysis they conduct The assurance process will highlight the need for quality data-gathering and analysis processes, and may lengthen the timeline for reporting.)

California leads the charge on new ESG laws, including climate disclosure. Against the backdrop of state anti-ESG activity, California forged ahead with extensive new ESG-related disclosure requirements through the passage of four laws with broad application to public and private companies.(New York could be the next to follow suit on climate disclosure requirements, as lawmakers in that state have introduced four bills, including two that are nearly identical to California’s)

16:35 
– 16:55 EDT

Sustainable Investment Dialogue | Fixed Income: An essential funding source to mobilise capital and build resilient financial systems for a just and sustainable carbon neutral economy?

Fixed income is a crucial transition financing channel for achieving climate goals? As one of the largest sources of finance globally should bonds play a more significant role in net zero transitioning?

16:55 
– 17:10 EDT

Climate Leader Insight Interview 4

17:10 
– 17:30 EDT

Sustainable Investment Dialogue | A Just Transition: Why investors need to collaborate on standards- collaborating for impactful and just change- shifting from good intent to good outcome

Banks have a crucial role in supporting a just transition to net zero economies and clearer frameworks are needed to meet the opportunities and challenges. Private sector involvement is essential to mobilise the trillions of dollars necessary to transition to an inclusive net zero economy. Examining how the responsible investing community are collaborating to enact effective long term sustainable practices

17:30 
– 17:40 EDT

Sustainable Investment Spotlight | Mobilising private capital to scale investments in emerging markets

  • Has the impact of future policy uncertainty, technological costs and rise in the cost of capital and data limitations created unattractive risk-return profiles?
  • How far is private climate finance helping emerging economies meet Paris Agreement goals?
  • The private sector is well-equipped to manage project implementation risks, though not best suited to take on policy risks or investments in innovative approaches that competitors can easily replicate- how can this be improved in the private sector?
17:40 
– 18:20 EDT

Panel | How are green infrastructure and real estate investors contributing to SDG outcomes- can they significantly increase their allocation to climate solutions whilst reducing exposure to carbon intensive companies?

  • Green infra investing opportunities for investors- making real impact and real returns for a climate friendly build environment
  • Can greater private sector participation in the planning, construction and operation of infrastructure can help mitigate public sector constraints in funding the green transition?
  • Will life insurers and pension funds will be critical to mobilising private capital for green infra and real estate?
18:20 
– 18:30 EDT

Keynote

18:30 
– 18:35 EDT

Closing Keynote

18:35 
– 18:40 EDT

Chair's Closing Remarks

18:40 
– 19:40 EDT

Networking Drinks Reception

Key Themes

Strategies for investors to integrate climate risks and opportunities into portfolios

Blended finance and the adaptation financing gap

The operational, reputational, and political fallout from anti-ESG measures

Which asset classes face greatest challenges in transitioning to align with climate scenarios?

Do nature-based carbon offsets offer a crucial interim solution?

How can policymakers assure investors about the reliability of ESG data amid polarization?

How can policymakers assure investors about the reliability of ESG data amid polarization?

The non-linear and cascading nature of physical climate risks

The role of banks in financing the transition

Roundtables

Targeted Engagement

The Roundtables are an intimate 60-minute meetings for 15 – 20 participants including a moderator alongside up to two speakers (roundtable technical facilitators) who are representatives from one exclusive commercial partner. Engage with our qualified audience of asset owners, investment managers and solution providers who will provide real time project intelligence on the most pressing issues facing them and the granular problems they are trying to solve.

The Roundtable partner/s will assume the role of host, confirming a maximum of 10 Roundtable participants. Additionally, 10 Forum qualified delegates can reserve their place by booking their seat on a first come, first serve basis and join the conversation. Our goal for the roundtables is to build closer, more meaningful relationships while deeply exploring essential topics with key stakeholders from outside and inside the Forum’s network.

Under Chatham House Rule, the Roundtables encourages an atmosphere of open discussion and exchange of ideas. The intimate conversations allow participants an opportunity to deep dive and uncover industry needs from a variety of perspectives and use that knowledge to achieve tangible outcomes to accelerate us meeting sustainable investment objectives for a net zero, nature positive and equitable global economy.

Typical Roundtable Agenda

Pre-event discussion between Climate Action production team with the Roundtable Partner to confirm objectives and plan an impactful agenda for the moderator to guide.

  • Set the scene
    Moderator will deliver welcome remarks.
  • Set the tone:
    Statements by roundtable partner.
  • Open enegagement:
    Each roundtable member will introduce themselves and propose challenges, objectives, questions, or areas of best practice for discussion.
  • Initiate debate & facilitated networking:
    Multilateral interaction led by moderator between participants and partners
  • Closing remarks delivered by moderator

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