On Monday 16 May 2022, the International Climate Finance Accelerator Luxembourg (ICFA) organised the first Impact Investor Forum 2022, focusing on closing the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) financing gap by emerging fund managers.
The ICFA is a public-private partnership set up in 2018 by ten private entities of the Luxembourg financial sector as well as the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, and is supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The ICFA is a unique two-year programme that accelerates aspiring fund managers focusing on key areas within climate action. Participating fund managers receive access to financial support, trainings on a wide range of topics, an experienced coach and other benefits. The ICFA programme has supported 23 emerging fund managersso far, including three special awards.
Stephan Peters, Managing Director, of ICFA said that the purpose of the event is to think about climate finance challenges and how fund managers can contribute to the solution. He also noted the rapidly changing field of climate finance, especially for SDG fund mangers to find and finance innovative and climate sustainable projects. ICFA ackowledges the emerging challenges and constraints on public budgets as well as traditional financial systems, effectively creating a financing gap.
Lennart Duschinger, special advisor on sustainable finance at the Ministry of Finance, in his opening remarks recalled the several extreme weather conditions Luxembourg faced recently, such as a tornado, floods and other natural disasters, causing millions of euros in losses. He underlined that climate change is happening fast and at unprecedented levels across the globe and global climate actions accelerated by green and climate funds need immediate attention and support. In this regard, he noted that ICFA has helped fund managers with net asset value of €260 million so far. He also announced that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development have agreed to continue thier support for ICFA, up €4 million gainst the €3 million in its first phase.
Jennifer de Nijs, special adviser for Sustainable Finance at the Ministry of Finance, welcomed the in-person meeting with the fund managers afer a gap of two years, and took the opportunity to thank and present the awards of the four winning fund managers in 2020 and four winners and one special "ambassador of cohort" in 2021.
Keynote speaker, Martijn Blom, Manager for Benelux & Impact Funds Initiative Coordinator of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), shared the key challanges of finding the right fund with experience and knowledge being key as well as the need to focus on small-scale local entrerprises and companies which will help build the "green economy" of the future.
Yossef Zahar, Founder of Pandan Green and winner of the 2020 ICFA programme, emphasised that not only emerging but also existing fund managers need further guidance on SDG fund management. He shared the challenges in asia-pacific, especiually the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, which can create a big impact on a global level but have so far very little or almost non-existant instituional fund management, partly due to less government support and negligible expertise in this field. He called upon the governments and insitutional fund managers to give further attention and support to SDG assest managers.
Uwe Schober, Director of Investment, Management and Equity at Finance in Motion, a Luxembourg-based leading impact asset manager with about €3 billion assets under management, shared that he and his team are open to funds which are 100% focused on climate and the environment. He also noted that his team is looking forward to supporting early fund managers and develop thier skills and expertise in SDG finance.
The event was followed with five panel discussion on:
- Gender Equality (SDG 5)
- Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7)
- Reducing Inequalities (SDG 10)
- Climate Action (SDG 13)
- Life on Land (SDG 15)
Nearly 80 fund managers and other participants attended the event, with almost 20 additional fund managers participating in the event online.