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2020 was like a decade's worth of movement in public opinion on sustainability

9 February 2021

April French Furnell

If there was one positive outcome of COVID-19…it would be how it has propelled forward the sustainability agenda and accelerated the trend for ESG investing. According to Dr Andy Sloan, the past year was “like hitting the fast forward button”. Dr Andy is deputy chief executive of strategy for Guernsey Finance, and also chair of Guernsey Green Finance – an initiative to deliver on Guernsey’s commitment to strategic action on green and sustainable finance. He tells Citywealth’s April French Furnell, that we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves – there is no quick fix.

Read Citywealth's 60 second interview to find out more.

Tell Citywealth's readers about your role.

In a nutshell, it’s directing strategy and leading the development of sustainable finance in Guernsey, facilitating a co-ordinated approach and bringing together stakeholders to develop skills and services, policy and product. Ensuring that we continue to engage and collaborate on the international stage and continue to play a positive role in routing private capital to the sustainability agenda.  

 

Speaking of sustainability agendas, what’s in store for Guernsey Green Finance in 2021?

Broadening out Guernsey's private wealth offer in sustainable finance and taking our thematic 'private wealth financing sustainability' to CoP 26. We published our family office guidance last December and have several more sustainable finance tools for private wealth in the pipeline. We plan to launch a couple of key policy proposals at Sustainable Finance Week in June, the plan is to make a real contribution to the private capital agenda for CoP26.  Sustainable Finance Week itself has quickly become the diary date for private wealth and sustainable finance, in June. This year it's a hybrid event - a physical event in Guernsey beaming in participants and panels from London, New York and Geneva.  It'll be massive.  

 

What impact has the last year had on the sustainability agenda?

It was like hitting the fast forward button. It seems like ancient history but only the year before last Greta and Extinction Rebellion had branded climate change on the global conscious. 2020 was like a decade's worth of movement in public opinion.

 

That all sounds very positive, but are there any challenges you are facing? And how are you working towards overcoming them?

The challenge is to keep things real: stopping the sustainable finance cause being undermined derailed by the lack of credibility of the rhetoric of the ESG marketing juggernaut.  Suddenly ESG is everywhere and everyone's a sustainability expert. It's not true, there's no quick fix. There is lack of genuine expertise and experience out there. As a jurisdiction we determined to make a strategic commitment to this space several years ago, we engage with various UN bodies to transfer knowledge to build out our skillset in this field. For us 'being at the forefront of development of sustainable finance' isn't a glib tagline.

 

What is your most memorable work moment?

My daughter forgiving me for missing her seventh birthday party because I was 'saving the polar bears'.  There's no substitute for making your kids proud of what you do.  

 

Best and worst parts of your job?

Being able to reconcile what I do at work with the belief system I grew up with in the seventies - that deep down, even if it's just a little bit, I'm helping make the world a better place.

Having to endure the mansplaining of the latest converts to the cause!

 

Who do you most admire and why?

Prince Charles, for having the balls to stick to his guns and being proven right after half a century of being a figure of fun.  

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