Scotland business

Edinburgh hosts world summit on ethical finance

Scottish banknotes Image copyright Getty Images

Scotland's role as a global leader in ethical finance is being highlighted at a world summit in Edinburgh.

Senior representatives from more than 200 companies and organisations are attending Ethical Finance 2019.

Speakers include Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The summit aims to "help define and shape the transition to a sustainable financial system where finance delivers positive change".

The event is being hosted by the Scotland-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI).

Its aim is to "work towards a fairer finance system for people and the planet, focusing on sustainability, climate change and social justice".

Summit speaker Jamison Ervin, from the United Nations' Global Programme on Nature for Development, emphasised Scotland's importance in ethical finance.

"I think Scotland is already the universe for ethical finance," she told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme.

"We have major financial institutions such as Baillie Gifford and others who are saying, 'how can we green our wallet?', 'how can we look at our pension funds?', 'how can we look at our investments and become greener?'.

"They are searching - and that's the emphasis of this conference - for a financial response to the planetary emergency."

Image copyright UNDP
Image caption Ms Ervin said Scotland was "the universe for ethical finance"

She added: "One of the big outcomes that we would like to see is, how do we create new instruments in which investors can direct finance to projects that might be about restoring mangroves or protecting forests or nature-aligned projects.

"Right now, only a fraction of finance goes towards nature-based solutions."

Speaking ahead of the conference, Ms Sturgeon said: "Scotland's approach to economic growth is centred on making sure that it is inclusive, sustainable and fair.

"Those same values are at the core of the global discussion on ethical finance, a discussion that has a natural home in Edinburgh the heart of Scotland's thriving financial sector, with a long history and global reputation for innovation."

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