The event itself was attended by an audience of around 100 people, mostly from the investment and fund management sectors. They heard thoughtful contributions from Simon Ruddick (Chairman, Albourne Partners Ltd) and Kevin Gundle (CEO, Aurum Fund Management Ltd), who both spoke of the path that had led them to become involved in regeneration, the importance of thinking about environmental impact and the need to fulfil ESG Criteria as well as the momentum gathering in the investor community for investment managers to report on their ESG commitment and impacts.
Perhaps the highlight of the event was the opportunity to hear in person from one of our project partners, Isabelle Lackman, head of Hutan, a French NGO which has been working to restore tracts of forest and wildlife habitats in Malaysian Borneo. She gave an impassioned exposition of her 20-year involvement in this project, allowing the audience to get a flavour of the positive impact this type of project can have, not just on a threatened ecosystem but also on the communities living in and around it.
The encouraging turnout for the event was testament to the interest there is in the environmental side of ESG Criteria. Ultimately, the aim was to drive funding towards our projects. Yet, with so many influential figures in the finance world in attendance, our hope is that, at the very least, some people will have been given some food for thought to go with their morning coffee. It is also probably not everyday that a fiery and passionate French conservation champion like Isabelle has a captive audience of fund managers and finance gurus… all in all, they seemed quite impressed!