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ESG Data and Tech Summit to Reflect Pivotal Moment in Sustainable Finance

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The cusp of a new era in ESG data and technology is upon us as financial institutions integrate sustainability into their everyday activities, mindful of the fact that they are not just custodians of money that will drive environmental and social change, but that are also part of the broader change project.

In ESG’s next phase, which has been dubbed ESG 3.0, we can expect to see greater emphasis on automation of ESG-linked workflows and processes and emergence of more start-ups ready to provide financial institutions and corporates alike with the digital tools to achieve it.

It’s an exciting time to be in ESG and A-Team Group’s ESG Data and Tech Summit London 2023 couldn’t come at a better time. Our second annual day-long in-person event will gather some of the most important names in sustainable finance, from the users of data and tech to the providers of it.

As well as the latest trends, speakers drawn from global companies will discuss and explore new approaches to the snowballing demands placed upon chief sustainability and chief data officers.

“We now stand between ESG 2.0 and 3.0 when and where new market and product opportunities are concerned,” said Martina Macpherson, Head of ESG Products, at SIX Financial Information, a Platinum Sponsor at the summit.

“2.0 means regulatory risk management for ESG disclosure and reporting, and regulatory requirements are expanding from corporates and investors towards banks and service providers,” Macpherson told ESG Insight. “ESG 3.0 is now adding the necessary digital, end-to-end workflow solutions capabilities and functionalities, for instance, for portfolio analysis, deal flow management or for regulatory change management oversight. It is ultimately the convergence between sustainability and technology.”

Accelerated Change

ESG is gathering momentum as a core priority for all financial services organisations, agrees Rinesh Patel, global head of financial services at data cloud specialist Snowflake, another Platinum Sponsor. Patel said the ESG challenges that have long faced data chiefs – disclosures standardisation as well as data acquisition, quality, management and distribution – will remain, but will now be amplified by the changing face of the industry.

“It’s no longer just ESG for the investment processes,” Patel told ESG Insight. “ESG is now for regulatory reporting, it’s for marketing activities. You need ESG to be able to win and retain mandates from an investment management perspective, to be able to fulfil your fiduciary obligations from a regulatory reporting perspective.

“And all of these have different requirements from an investment process.”

Expert Speakers

The ESG Data and Tech Summit takes place on May 11. Speakers so far confirmed include Sean Taylor, executive director at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, Jan-Carl Plagge, head of ESG research at Vanguard Asset Management and from the reporting standards side, Mardi McBrien, director of strategic affairs at the IFRS Foundation.

Keynote addresses will be presented from data industry figures as well as from regulators. Topics covered will include the data challenges of the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), how ESG data quality can be improved and biodiversity and supply chain risk, ESG’s next frontier.

All topics will be framed in the context of the latest trends and emergent challenges.

New Challenges

Among those will be how technology can help manage the emergence of ESG as an enterprise-wide imperative as the torrent of data flowing through company pipelines increases.

Macpherson said there will be a need for new FinTech players to enter the market to help knit together the increasingly complex array of datasets, data vendors, financial services tools and solutions, and varying use cases that market participants have to manage.

“Beyond that, these players will enable a more streamlined process to maybe table and map different frameworks and to monitor portfolios in line with these new frameworks, for example to meet regulatory reporting requirements such as EU SFDR,” she said. “For managing the complexity jungle of multiple ESG frameworks, methods and specialist data sets, and to build successful data products, we have to ‘sync-up’ and go digital.”

Patel highlights another challenge that will play out as greater complexity increases demands for expertise that can thrive within the new data and technology environment.

“There’s a big need to bring talent into organisations but everyone wants to work for an organisation that has the right culture and the right values, and ESG plays a part in that,” he said.

If you’re a provider of ESG services and are interested in speaking, exhibiting and networking opportunities amongst our audience of senior financial executive thought-leaders, get in touch with sales@a-teamgroup.com.

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