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Is ESG Greenwash? Hosted by the Global Returns Project
Join the Global Returns Project on 12 October 2021 from 3:00 to 4:00pm BST (10:00 to 11:00am EDT) for a free webinar featuring global experts in sustainable investing and non-market climate solutions.

Sasja Beslik, former Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance Development at Bank J. Safra Sarasin, has been called the world’s most influential person in green finance. Tariq Fancy, the former CIO for Sustainable Investing at BlackRock, has become the leading global critic of green investing as a ‘deadly distraction’. And as CEO of the climate not-for-profit Ashden and former CEO of Fairtrade International, Harriet Lamb CBE has helped reform markets and championed non-market climate initiatives.

Sir Dieter Helm CBE, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford, will be introducing the webinar. Professor Helm was awarded a knighthood in 2021 for services to the environment, energy and utilities policy.

In advance of November’s UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), this event will address the strengths and weaknesses of sustainable investing:
- What can market initiatives like ESG successfully accomplish, and where do they fall short?
- What role do non-market initiatives like not-for-profits play in tackling the Climate and Nature Crisis?

The discussion will focus in particular on COP26’s approach to finance.
- With ‘mobilising finance’ touted as one of the conference’s four main goals, to what extent does COP26 acknowledge or ignore ESG’s limitations?
- How can COP26 better incorporate non-market solutions to the Climate and Nature Crisis?

After an initial discussion between the panelists, the Global Returns Project will open the floor to questions from event attendees. Registration for the panel is free of charge.

Oct 12, 2021 03:00 PM in London

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Sasja Beslik
Former Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance Development @Bank J. Safra Sarasin
Sasja Beslik is the former Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance Development at Bank J. Safra Sarasin. A Swedish and international financial expert, Sasja has been called the world’s most influential person within green finance. Sasja has extensive experience transforming ESG from risk to opportunity, creating commercial strategies for ESG integration into asset management, fund companies and products. Sasja worked previously at Nordea. He was named CEO of Nordea Investment Funds Sweden in 2011 and Head of Responsible Investments and Identity at Nordea Asset Management in 2013. In 2017 he became Head of Sustainable Finance. Sasja was recognised as a “Young Global Leader” in 2011 by the World Economic Forum in Davos. In 2013, he received the H. M. The King's Medal, 8th size with the ribbon of the Order of the Seraphim from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden for outstanding contributions within Swedish environmental and sustainability theory.
Tariq Fancy
Former Chief Investment Officer for Sustainable Investing @BlackRock
Tariq Fancy is a Canadian entrepreneur and the founder of The Rumie Initiative (2013): a not-for-profit education technology startup focused on microlearning and creating a more effective and scalable way to close the learning gap. From 2017 to 2019, Tariq was the Chief Investment Officer for Sustainable Investing at BlackRock. Following his departure from BlackRock, Tariq has become a leading global critic of Greenwashing in ESG investing. In his first article on the subject, Tariq wrote that ‘The financial services industry is duping the American public with its pro-environment, sustainable investing practices[…] creating a deadly distraction. I should know; I was at the heart of it.’ Tariq began his finance career as a technology investment banker in the group that led the IPOs of Google, Amazon and Cisco. He next joined NYC-based private equity firm MHR Fund Management, where he became the firm’s youngest partner in 2006.
Harriet Lamb
Chief Executive Officer @Ashden
Harriet Lamb is the CEO of Ashden: a not-for-profit that seeks out and amplifies the work of organisations delivering innovative, affordable and sustainable climate solutions around the world, with a strong focus on renewable energy and climate justice. Harriet is a passionate advocate of these inspiring climate champions, as well as the need for rapid acceleration of green jobs and skills in the UK and low-income countries. Previously, she was CEO at peacebuilding organisation International Alert and before that spent 15 years leading Fairtrade in the UK and globally, for which she was appointed a CBE. She is co-author of the book 'From Anger to Action: Inside the Global Movements for Social Justice, Peace and a Sustainable Planet'. Harriet was named Orange Businesswoman of the Year 2008, Cosmopolitan EcoQueen 2008 and a Red Magazine Hot Ethical Woman. She is the first woman Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and joined the board of directors for the Fair Tax Mark in 2021.
Sir Dieter Helm CBE
Professor of Economic Policy @University of Oxford
Sir Dieter Helm is Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford. He was Independent Chair of the Natural Capital Committee, providing advice to the government on the sustainable use of natural capital, until the end of the second term of the Committee in November 2020. In the New Year 2021 Honours List, Dieter was awarded a knighthood for services to the environment, energy and utilities policy. He has written many books, most recently Net Zero (September 2020) in which he addresses the action we all need to take to tackle the climate emergency. Dieter has provided extensive advice to UK and European governments, including ‘The Cost of Energy Review’ for the UK government in October 2017 and for the European Commission in preparing the Energy Roadmap 2030. He served both as a special advisor to the European Commissioner for Energy and as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on the Roadmap.