The first event of the year was the ESG Seminar on 06th February.

ESG refers to the three central factors (Environmental, Social and Governance) used to measure the sustainability and ethical impact of a company or investment. ESG has considerably developed over the past 5 years and different companies integrate ESG into their decision-making process via different methods. ESG is being heavily driven by millennials as they prefer to invest in a way that matches their mind set and priorities. Trade Finance has an important role to play in the development and implementation of ESG. Through both direct and indirect lending, trade finance providers are able to build relationships on the ground in key commodity markets. Through these relationships, lenders are able to engage actively with borrowers and therefore trade finance practitioners can drive the implementation of ESG at the operating level.

The event started with a Beginner’s Guide to ESG, which was presented by Amitji Odedra from Qbera. Ian Henderson of GIB Asset Management then did a short session on “Real Life Examples of ESG in Trade Finance”, showing many of the transactions the Trade Finance team at GIB AM work with on a daily basis. Ian split this section down into the different sectors and showed not only the positive impact that ESG can have, but also the negative impact that not implementing ESG can cause, for example the collapse of the Vale tailings dam. There was also a short section on how the Trade Finance team at GIB Asset Management had implemented ESG into their procedures. The event finished with an interactive panel discussion entitled “The past, present and future of ESG in Trade Finance” which was moderated by Charlotte Prior, GIB Asset Management. The panellists included: Pouya Jafari from Channel Capital Advisors / founder of TradeXplain, Dr Maria Mogilnaya from EBRD, Jessica Craven from Kimura and Simon Cook from Sullivan Law. The panel looked at how ESG is being implemented throughout their different organisations, what factors make the implementation of ESG more difficult and how technology, law and governance may enhance the role of ESG in Trade Finance.

The event was well attended, with many attendees representing different roles across the Trade Finance industry.

To view photos of the event, please access the member area of the ITFA website.