On the one hand, Europe is the leading area in the world when it comes to sustainable and responsible investing, according to the latest Global Sustainable Investment Review. On the other hand, European countries traditionally face lots of dramatic difficulties when they have to walk together, nearly in every field. So, what is the link between these two sides of the European coin? I’m not sure there’s a link indeed, but what I’m seeing is that a number of influential Eu countries seem to have started trying to speak with one voice or at least to move with coordination around Sri.
A few days ago the Italian SIF (Forum per la Finanza Sostenibile) announced the programme of the 5th Italian Sri Week, with a dozen of events in Rome and Milan from November 15 to 24 and a number of cultural side events, too.
I remember years ago when the former and first Secretary General of the Italian Sif and me were talking about the main gaps our country paid with regard to other European countries which we usually compare to, in this case Uk and France. You could resume the talk we had in just one sentence, or better in one question: «Why can’t we set up an Italian Sri Week, as Uk and France already started doing?».
I remember, too, when some time after our talk he told me with satisfaction that he made it: he was organizing the first edition of the Italian Sri Week, also thanks to a number of lucky and unpredictable coincidences that allowed him to launch non just one day but a whole week of Sri events. It was 2012.
So, with the European landscape in mind, in my opinion one of the most important features of the 5th Italian Sri Week is…the period during which it’s going to be held.
Ok, over the last years it has fallen on the same period. But what I mean is that: we’re just few days away from the start of the French Sri Week. Then, Spainsif will organize its annual event. Later on, it’ll be time for the Uk Sri Week to be held. On November 10 Eurosif will publish its much awaited new Sri Study. In mid-November, as said, the start of the Italian Sri Week.
You can easily see that some of the leading European countries, and Sri bodies (namely Eurosif), have settled their main annual Sri events in a period of just a couple of months: a “pretty busy” period, no doubt. Is it enough to say that Europe is starting to talk with one voice on Sri? Maybe not yet. But it’s probably sufficient to affirm that a good and meaningful dose of coordination among the above mentioned events has been looked for. And got in large part, I’d say. In that perspective, we have to consider the recent launch of Erin, another initiative – the first of its kind in Europe – in the sense of a more coordinated European action.
There are so many questions to specify in the sustainable and responsible investment environment, for instance: definition of Sri; fiduciary duty in an Esg perspective; clarification of what the Paris Agreement actually means for investors, especially with regard to the extremely urgent need to decarbonise investments at a worldwide level. They’re only a few examples, the list would be much longer. Now European countries have the great and in a certain sense historic chance to address together all these questions. And (maybe) inspire the rest of the world.