GRASFI 2019: Largest ever conference on sustainable finance and investment

03 Sep 2019

Multi-disciplinary academic research is further strengthening the credentials of sustainable investing. In promoting collaboration between universities, the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment plays a leading role. It brings together 23 top research universities which work under the GRASFI umbrella on sustainable finance and investment.

Sponsored by BNP Paribas Asset Management, GRASFI seeks to enhance business school curricula on sustainability itself and on the information flows and metrics involved, but also on climate risk and topics such as carbon pricing. It aims to integrate sustainability into core financial analysis and have a broader, more robust pool of literature on the subject and by extension improve financial literacy.

The second annual GRASFI conference – the largest ever – takes place on 3-6 September. It is being hosted by the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.  The programme includes:


Tuesday 3 September

New Research Frontiers for Greening the Financial System: INSPIRE workshop


INSPIRE, a global research network, was founded in recognition of the need for the global financial system to intensify its response to the risks of climate change and to channel capital effectively to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, resilient and sustainable model of development.

Awareness of climate and sustainability factors is on the rise in the financial sector. Market actors are beginning to incorporate the implications of a changing climate and the transition to a low-carbon economy into their banking, insurance and investment decisions. Policymakers and financial authorities have also begun to take action, and are crafting new approaches to understand and address climate change and other environmental threats.

In December 2017, eight leading central banks and supervisors announced they were forming the Network for Greening the Financial System. Since then, the NGFS has grown to more than 40 members and observers from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Its goal is “to help strengthen the global response required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to enhance the role of the financial system to manage risks and to mobilize capital for green and low-carbon investments in the broader context of environmentally sustainable development”.

Three work streams are focused on:

  1. micro-prudential and supervisory issues
  2. macro-financial risks
  3. scaling up green finance, insurance and investment decisions.


Wednesday 4 September

Keynote presentation: The Concept of the Twenty-First Century Corporation

Professor John Kay CBE FRSE FBA, Supernumerary Fellow in Economics, St John’s College, University of Oxford

John Kay has been a Fellow of the St John’s College at Oxford University since 1970. After 10 years as a tutorial Fellow in Economics, he established the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a respected think tank, and later a consultancy business.

His more recent interests have been writing about economics for a popular audience, through articles in the Financial Times and books, including The Truth about Markets (2003) and Obliquity (2010).

John Kay has been the College’s Investment Officer for over 20 years and his investment philosophy is expounded in The Long and the Short of It (2009). In 2012 he completed a review of the performance of equity markets for the UK government.

His most recent book, Other People’s Money, asks ‘what would a financial sector designed to meet the needs of the non-financial economy look like?’.


Thursday 5 September

Keynote presentation: Finance and Prosperity

Professor Colin Mayer CBE FBA, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Colin Mayer is an expert on all aspects of corporate finance, governance and taxation, the regulation of financial institutions and the role of the corporation in contemporary society.

At Oxford, he teaches the elective course on Mergers, Acquisitions and Restructurings on the MBA and the Masters in Financial Economics programmes, the core programme on Responsible Business for MBA students, an elective on the Nature of the Corporation for MBA and Masters in Financial Economics students, and the Principles of Financial Regulation on the Masters in Law and Finance.


BNP Paribas Asset Management aims to achieve long-term sustainable investment returns for clients.  This means that we integrate sustainable investment practices into the heart of what we do. We want our investments to be a driving force for change: for clients, their beneficiaries and the world we live in.

To find out more, go to:

Read about BNPP AM’s Global Sustainability Strategy here