Panel: The Finance Sector’s Role in Driving Sustainable Development
- Bill Sisson Executive Director, North America - World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
- Christine Bergeron President & CEO - Vancity
- Rob Wesseling President & CEO - Co-operators
- Som Seif Founder and CEO - Purpose Unlimited
Canadian citizens, governments and companies are paying closer attention to the sustainability impact of financial products and services, which are the heart of all economic activity—governing our investments, lending our mortgages and allowing us to plan for retirement. Increased scrutiny upon financial institutions and professionals, as well as a national goal of achieving net zero by 2050, has financial actors and economic stakeholders turning to the ever-pressing considerations of ESG, sustainable development, and a global financial system that removes barriers to access for all citizens.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has provided reliable and ambitious guidance on how the business community can make the transformations we need in order to “have more than nine billion people live well and within planetary boundaries by 2050,” and has identified financial products and services as a critical component of achieving this goal. In The Council’s view, financial products and services can and must be harnessed not only to make a profit, but to achieve pressing social and environmental outcomes in Canada and abroad.
This live panel was moderated by Tim Penketh, Founder & CEO of TheFutureEconomy.ca, and featured four leading experts in a discussion on how Canada’s business community can mobilize financial capital, products and services to support sustainable development in Canada.
The panel focused on what Canada and its financial sector stakeholders must do to achieve the following outcomes:
- “The financial system recognizes the value of social and environmental outcomes alongside financial performance.”
- “Financial capital allocation enables sustainable and equitable development.”
- “The financial system has access to comprehensive and comparable data on corporate sustainability performance.”