unctad.org | Briefing for civil society on responsible investment and capital markets
Briefing for civil society on responsible investment and capital markets
01 July 2014

​UNCTAD’s Public Symposium featured an in-depth look inside the workings of capital markets, briefing civil society on how to engage with companies, investors, regulators and exchanges to promote corporate responsibility and sustainable development.



Summary text prepared by the lead organizer of the session Dr Anthony Miller, Division on Investment and Enterprise. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of UNCTAD.
 

The session featured an interactive discussion with Dr. Steve Waygood, the Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors and a Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Dr. Waygood previously served as Chair of the UNCTAD Consultative Group that wrote the Guidance for Stock Exchanges and Regulators on Best Practices in Sustainability Reporting Initiatives.

"The involvement of civil society is critically important to inform the responsible investment debate," said Dr. Waygood. "Unfortunately, the complexities of financial markets often create a barrier for many, so it was a great opportunity to have this UNCTAD Public Symposium." The talk outlined key features of capital markets, demystifying jargon and complex financial mechanisms and giving participants guidance on how they can better engage. Emphasis was placed on creating positive synergies between civil society and capital market stakeholders and the means of mainstreaming sustainable development issues in capital markets. Dr. Waygood issued a call to action encouraging civil society to harness capital markets to support sustainable development. He stressed the need for a new form of advocacy partnership between NGOs and capital market institutions.

 
Public Symposium 2014
Dr. Steve Waygood addressing participants at the UNCTAD Public Symposium
 

The lively and interactive discussion identified capital market players that civil society could engage including asset owners, investment consultants, asset managers, mutual fund managers, stock exchanges, brokers and corporate Chief Investment Officers. Questions from participants lead to consideration of concrete examples of how to work on a particular sustainable development issue area with financial markets. Suggestions included calls for increased research on the role of exchanges in promoting corporate responsibility and the question of how best to promote private sector investment in sustainable development.

The session was organized by UNCTAD's Investment and Enterprise Division. "Capital markets are an important feature of the overall investment chain," said Mr. Zhan, Director of the Division. "We promote a holistic look at the entire investment chain, from portfolio investment to foreign direct investment, to help policy makers and business leaders identify systemic challenges and sustainable development solutions." The Public Symposium took place just days before the launch of UNCTAD's 2014 World Investment Report which this year covers the question of how to promote investment in the sustainable development goals. This will also be the topic of high-level discussions at the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in Geneva later this year (13-16 October).

The session was Chaired by Mr. Anthony Miller, Corporate Social Responsibility Focal Point within UNCTAD's Investment and Enterprise Division. Ms. Elodie Feller, Investment Commission Coordinator for UNEP Finance Initiative served as Rapporteur.


Contacts:
UNCTAD: Anthony Miller, CSR Focal Point, Division on Investment and Enterprise
+41 22 917 5802 | Anthony.miller@unctad.org


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