Investment Firms Need Skills Development for ESG

More than two-thirds of the finance professionals in a recent survey say their industry needs more skills development in sustainable finance to meet the expected growth in demand from regulators and stakeholders.

The survey, released last week by Toronto Finance International, Financial Centres for Sustainability, and consulting firm Deloitte Canada, said 68% of finance professionals surveyed reported their organizations faced a shortage of specialized skills in environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices, The Canadian Press reports.

“Everyone feels that we’re at this tipping point with regards to climate and we’ve got to start acting quickly,” Toronto Finance International CEO Jennifer Reynolds told the Globe and Mail. “We’re going to start seeing regulations in Canada start coming at us, so we’ve got to be ready for it as an industry, and in broader Corporate Canada as well. So the urgency is starting to increase, which is a good thing.”

Of those experiencing a shortage, 85% said the impact was moderate or significant.

The report was based on a survey of more than 100 financial services professionals responsible for developing sustainable finance competency. It came as many organizations work to integrate action on climate change and other issues into their operations.

The survey found 73% of respondents said sustainable finance strategies were becoming integral to their organization, while all respondents said skills and talent in the specialization are important.

The report called on the financial industry, government, and post-secondary schools to help close the skills gap, since they all play a role in building a sustainable finance talent pool. But ESG and sustainable finance specialist Alexandria Fisher tweeted a different prescription.

“The financial industry needs to welcome ‘outsiders’ and challenge its biases,” she wrote. “On average, it is easier to teach an #ESG or sustainability specialist finance than teach a CFA or MBA ESG.”

This post is originally from The Canadian Press

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