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UCD Smurfit School Professor appointed to European Union’s expert group to develop sustainable finance activities and standards

  • Date: Thu, Jun 14, 2018

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A senior Irish-based academic who holds a chair in Operational Risk, Banking & Finance at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School has been appointed to the Technical Expert Group tasked with shaping the European Union’s plans to make the financial system more sustainable.

Professor Andreas Hoepner, a globally renowned expert on sustainable finance who joined UCD Smurfit School last year, will join the Technical Expert Group tasked with assisting the European Commission in developing frameworks, standards and procedures around the surging growth of green finance including EU Green Bond Standards and climate-related metrics.

The appointment of Professor Hoepner, announced in Brussels today, has been welcomed by Irish Minister for Financial Services and Insurance, Mr Michael D’Arcy T.D. 

The group’s work will be instrumental in achieving the goals and ambitions set out in the European Commission recently launched Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth, and boost the role of finance in supporting a stable and competitive EU economy that delivers on environmental and social goals.  

The development of an EU ‘taxonomy’ of climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and other environmental activities, will be the Technical Expert Group’s central focus.

The European Union is strongly supporting the transition to a low-carbon, more resource-efficient and sustainable economy and it has been at the forefront of efforts to build a financial system that supports sustainable growth.

Highlighting the importance the Commission is placing on this topic, the Expert Group time commitment is significant with the group expected to meet up to 15 times until June 2019.

Professor Hoepner served for more than six years as lead academic advisor to the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment, a body that today has more than 1,600 members with $72 trillion assets under management.  

Commenting, Professor Hoepner said:

"I am very much looking forward to working within the European Union's Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance announced earlier today. Elected as an independent member, I wholeheartedly identify with the group's ambition to place environmental, social and governance considerations at the heart of the financial system, in doing so underpin Europe’s competitiveness into the future. With my appointment focused on the task of developing low-carbon benchmarks, I look forward to sharing my experiences wherever possible with my students completing the MSc in Renewable Energy and Environmental Finance at UCD Smurfit School."

Welcoming the appointment, Minister for Financial Services and Insurance, Mr Michael D’Arcy T.D. said: 

“For many years now, the European Union has been at the forefront of the transition to a low-carbon economy. For the first time, the recently launched Action Plan on Financing Sustaining Growth brings together Europe’s real economy needs and mobilisation of the financial system into one document and gives us a blueprint for how best to finance this transition. Convening a pan-European Expert Group to advise on how best to move forward underscores the importance the EU is placing on this topic. I want to extend my congratulations to UCD’s Professor Hoepner for being selected as a member of this Expert Group and for his expertise being recognised.”

Professor Hoepner is also a member of Sustainable Nation Ireland’s Green Finance public-private committee, which advises and guides on this topic as relates to government’s IFS 2020 Strategy. Under this strategy, Sustainable Nation Ireland has a mandate to further position and promote Ireland as a green and sustainable finance hub. Professor Hoepner also serves as Academic Chair of Sustainable Nation Ireland.

Commenting, Sustainable Nation CEO Stephen Nolan said: 

“As Sustainable Nation’s Academic chair and member of our public-private green finance Committee, Professor Hoepner has brought a wealth of world-class insight and expertise to our work, not least the further promotion of Ireland as a leading sustainable finance hub. We are delighted he has been selected by the European Union to assist them in this important work and wish him all the best in this important endeavour. His selection only further serves to highlight the real talent located in Ireland that lies behind our emergence as a sustainable finance centre.” 

Sustainable finance aims to support economic growth while reducing pressures on the environment, addressing green-house gas emissions and tackling pollution and minimising waste and improving efficiency in the use of natural resources the provision of finance to investments taking into account environmental, social and governance considerations.


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