Meet Sustainable Finance Association – In interview with Karen Wendt

How will the world of investment develop and what values must be behind it?

We are interviewing our member Sustainable Finance Association. Karen Wendt gives us insights into the world of sustainable investments and what Sustainable Finance stands for.

Karen Wendt

An interview with our #bethechange Member, Sustainable Finance Association

Karin Wendt is an expert in FinTech and finance and president of the Sustainable Finance Association. In this interview, she tells us more about her values, goals and also the trends that await us in the future in connection with the financial world and sustainable investment.

What are your core values under which you founded the Sustainable Finance Association?

The main values are providing the information organizations need in order to make the next step in their sustainability journey. This requires

  • Innovation: Innovation is a consequence of opportunity recognition. We extract l the opportunities from the ambiguous VUCA trends, and we organizational and societal challenges in order to turn them into business opportunities.
  • A Growth Mindset: The idea of a growth mindset, was first proposed by Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book Mindset. It describes people who believe that their success depends on time and effort. People with a growth mindset feel their skills and intelligence can be improved with effort and persistence. They embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, learn from criticism and seek out inspiration in others’ success.
  • Collaboration and Co-Creation: We believe that the old times of one way education and advisory are over. We collaborate and co-create with our clients.
  • Customer Focus: We focus on tailor made solutions for the organization that wants our advice or business intelligence solution. It is not that one size fits all. Transformation is a very idiosyncratic process, however we need ot align it finally with an allocentric perspective of the world we live in, where there are three important pillars: individual success and performance, societal success and planetary boundaries.
  • Science based approaches and business intelligence.: Sustainability is a trend which came into focus over the last 50 years and has grown and advanced ever since. However, 50 years is not a very long time in history and there is a huge need for business intelligence and data driven solutions in this area

Our business values are integrity, innovation, client passion, risk management, green performance and integration. We are innovating, instigating and initiating new business models and emotional intelligence

Why are you part of MoreThanDigital  and why #bethechange?

We love the #bethechange idea. Digitalisation is a trend for sure. We need to include new business models and in particular blockchain into the sustainability space.  We believe we need an #SDG 18 to reflect this properly.

Creating sustainable and inclusive Growth using blockchain to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 is an important topic to address.The blockchain for Sustainable Development landscape which we define as distributed ledger technology projects, initiatives and ecosystems across any of the Sustainable Development Goals, has changed dramatically in the two years since the emerging technology received global attention for its potential implications on the economy, business, sustainability and government at the World Economic Forum in 2017.

Whereas the United Nations assume that the implementation oft he 17 sustainable Development goals will happen through economic growth it cannot be stressed enough that growth in the traditional model means more resource usage and as we already use resources beyond planetary boundaries the implementation oft he 17 Sustainable Development goals would mean another stretch if blockchain weren’t to create the necessary decoupling of economic growth from resource usage. So the main advantage of blockchain lies in the implication we can create economic growth and fulfil the Sustainable Development goals without using more resources. blockchain shall enable us to decouple growth from resource usage.

A 20-year vision of adoption was optimistically delineated across all facets of the real economy wherein businesses and governments would be able to achieve unprecedented efficiency, with global operations and supply chains fundamentally reorganized, enabled by new business and service models, ecosystems and relationships. Blockchain promises to offer approaches and solutions that were not possible using other technologies or systems, and a unique opportunity to simultaneously create accountability, transparency, and security of systems alongside the decoupling of growth and resource usage. Blockchain for sure has a huge benefit in tracking supply chains, weeding out corruption and facility payments and therefore provides indication for good governance without relying on a third party or middleman (auditors, quality assurance, ISO standards, certification schemes just to name a few).  However there is much more juice to the Blockchain for Sustainable  Development. Making decoupling happening through blockchain usage would have deserved an own UN Sustainability goal in our view We call it: SDG 18.

The societal innovation behind this technology is based on the theory that open immutable ledgers would enable transparent decision-making procedures and decentralized incentive systems for collaboration and cooperation.

Blockchain technology, being decentralized by nature, can enable communities of all sizes to reach consensus and “implement innovative forms of self-governance”, provided that the rules of the system were developed inclusively with these communities. Essentially blockchain-based systems could be the key to delivering productivity gains and connecting digital infrastructure across multiple industries, from supply chains, to energy markets and utilities, to the public sector, intellectual property management and more.

What are you doing differently?

We have created a series on sustainable finance which is published by Springer Palgrave MacMillan. It researches, assembles, develops and provides access to top quality research and ideas in the growing field of sustainable finance. Our series sustainable finance is a concise and authoritative reference series linking research and practice. It provides reliable concepts and research findings in the ever growing field of sustainable investing and finance, SDG economics and Leadership with the declared commitment to present the theories, methods, tools and investment approaches that can fulfil the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement COP 21/22 . Alongside to this goal we are providing insight  and know how on de-risking assets and creating triple purpose solutions that ensure the parity of profit, people and planet through choice architecture passion and performance. The series addresses market failure, systemic risk and reinvents portfolio theory, portfolio engineering as well as behavioural finance, financial mediation, product innovation, shared values, community building, business strategy and innovation, exponential tech and creation of social capital.

Many layers in the field are seeing sustainable finance from an engagement and emotional perspective. While these elements are important, leaders very often need business intelligence, research, connecting the dots in order to provide them with a basis for decision making We help organizations and their leaders to make better informed decisions for sustainability. So we help them with research, analysis and strategy development. In short we are also a business intelligence organization.

What drives you in doing so?

We are driven by our mission to make the world a better place every day.

This requires data-driven business intelligence and combining it with a portfolio of innovative products and services, that supports company leaders, science institutions, and corporate R&D departments in change making and change management. We help you to implement sustainability, which is tailor-made to your business organization and your business context. Our solutions are modular and infrastructure-independent. We help integrate sustainability into the core DANN of organizations. We engage in advisory for sustainable infrastructure, digitalization, climate aligned investments, EU green bonds, transforming health, food and water companies to align with the EU Action Plan.

We know that a lot of people work in conflict industries. We help conflict industries to reposition their brand and business model. We want to engage in creating alignment of interests with shareholders and stakeholders including business mediation.

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