FaithInvest Director of Membership Nana Francois attended the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow earlier this month, eager to be a part of its culture of listening, learning, collaborating and contributing. Here are her reflections on the historic event:
Our Faith in the SDGS event, co-hosted with Global Ethnical Finance Initiative , Islamic Finance Council, Wahed & Church of Scotland
As mentioned in my previous post, one of the reasons FaithInvest participated at COP26 was to work with the individuals and organisations focused on solutions, building partnerships and opportunities to support the mobilisation of capital in a faith-consistent manner for the good of people and planet.
This work is most effective when it engages hearts, minds and wallets. As we reflect back on the events, conversations and conclusions from the fortnight there are three key takeaways which give me optimism for the future and a good sense of urgency in our next steps:
1. There was substance behind the signalling – at all levels, from government to civil society. Whilst many gaps and challenges remain, it is encouraging that this was achieved at a multinational, bilateral, national and civil society level, and that the direction of travel is more aligned, even if there are still challenges over the speed.
2. Civil society captured the imagination and there was a spirit of action and collaboration focused on actions as well as statements. As far as FaithInvest was concerned, we certainly grew and deepened many of our institutional and partner relationships. The benefits of those conversations will come through in our work in the coming months.
3. Faith-based groups in particular are ready and eager to engage with concepts of positive investment as a progression of their screening and/or divestment activities. There is a real richness of curiosity and knowledge here, and for me this is the most encouraging development as we explore different possibilities to co-create large scale impactful fund possibilities in partnership with implementation experts – for the faiths from the faiths.
Overall, I left COP26 in a state of positive exhaustion (!) and with a concrete list of to-dos, some of which we'll be outlining when we report on our round table event with the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds.
And I look forward to continuing to work with faith based asset owning institutions to make these opportunities for faith consistent investment real and impactful.