How to mobilise $100 trillion wisely: Oxford course on sustainable finance

How to mobilise $100 trillion wisely: Oxford course on sustainable finance

Well over $100 trillion dollars needs to be invested internationally to tackle climate change and this requires the global financial system to be aligned with environmental sustainability.

This is a huge challenge. There is a significant learning curve facing the groups that will have to design and execute the interventions that are going to be essential to achieve a global shift in capital allocation.

This is why we have established a new Public and Third Sector Academy for Sustainable Finance (P3SA). Launched a year ago, with the backing of the IKEA Foundation and the European Climate Foundation, it has already delivered a comprehensive introductory course in sustainable finance to more than 1,000 influential public and third sector representatives from around the world.

That means the public and third sectors – from government to regulators, from NGOs and charities to philanthropists. And the required knowledge and experience is often lacking among these very groups, facing the biggest challenge. This has been clear for some time. We often receive urgent requests for relevant training to overcome the knowledge gap.

It is foundational knowledge, essential to a sustainable future. The online course, together with live lectures, takes about 20-25 hours. It gives participants the knowledge and the networks they are going to need to shift capital in the right direction. It is led by experts from the University, with the course underpinned by the latest Oxford research.

This is the only course of its kind for public and third sector employees and our aim is for the Academy to become a really significant and agile resource for these sectors in understanding and managing sustainable finance globally.

More than 40% of participants have been from the global south, including dozens from key financial institutions, such as the Philippines Development Bank, and central banks in Thailand, Indonesia and Kenya as well as groups from Kenya’s capital markets regulator, Egypt’s financial regulator and Nigeria’s finance ministry.

There is no doubt about the interest and appetite for this essential training. And the response has shown the priority being given to acquiring these skills.

Right now, we are focused on the mass delivery of our introductory course. We have started with the core principles, and the understanding needed to deal with a range of scenarios – all informed by the latest research. A key part of the programme, is for participants to learn from best practice case studies and for them to develop professional networks, which can support them going forward.

But we also have plans for a range of future courses, workshops and other events, which will be announced shortly. We have had a 200-strong cohort every couple of months, going through the introductory course. Many are already looking forward to taking subsequent courses as they are launched.

This area is evolving rapidly. We are already updating the core curriculum to keep the course and the case studies up-to-date. Without philanthropic support, this simply would not have been possible and we are looking forward to scaling the work of the Academy next year and in future years. There really is no time to lose.

By Dr Ben Caldecott, Faculty Chair of the P3S Academy, Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group, and the Lombard Odier Associate Professor of Sustainable Finance at the University of Oxford.