Bold Plans: 'This is possible, we can create a future where everyone thrives'
We had a fantastic Bold Plans conference last week. Here are some of the highlights.
*** To read our full report of the event, click below ***
'Excellent', 'riveting', 'inspiring', 'mind opening' and 'uplifting' – these were some of the words used to describe FaithInvest's two-day Bold Plans and Faith-consistent Investing conference in London last week.
The event saw more than 100 people come together at the beautiful venue of Christ Church Spitalfields to discuss how to catalyse faith-consistent investing and move a greater proportion of faith-owned funds into initiatives aimed at creating a better future for people and planet.
They included representatives of faith groups, the finance industry, faith-based environmental and development NGOs, networks such as GreenFaith, Operation Noah, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative, the Global Impact Investing Network, the Impact Investing Initiative, Accounting for Sustainability (which supported us in organising this event) and others, as well as thought leaders in sustainable finance such as Mark Campanale, founder of Carbon Tracker Initiative.
'What I've been really struck by today is how much further forward we are in the movement to mobilise the wealth that the faiths have' – Amy Clarke, Tribe Impact Capital
FaithInvest was founded in 2019, just before Covid, which meant last week's Bold Plans event was the first time we had 'brought our ecosystem together', said CEO Martin Palmer. 'I hoped that we would see that something that was completely revolutionary five or six years ago – that this relationship between faiths and investments and consistency had become part of the discourse of major groups. And it has,' he said.
I cannot thank you enough for the rich, knowledgeable and thoughtful experience that was the Bold Plans event... I gained so much from the exposure to different thought processes and experiences of the speakers and fellow participants. It was a truly mind opening few days for me' – a participant at our Bold Plans event
The title 'Bold Plans and Faith-consistent Investing' came from the ground-breaking October 2021 multifaith appeal to the UN's COP26 climate conference, signed by the Pope and 40 faith leaders, in which they committed to 'aligning investments' and creating 'bold plans' to make their own organisations more sustainable.
That statement 'gave us a framework and assumption, which the faiths had accepted, which was that they should be making bold plans, that they should be thinking about faith-consistent investing,' said Martin Palmer.
Martin added: 'And we saw this in the Bold Plans event. We brought together an immensely diverse group which by the end of the second day was outbidding each other on what they were going to do even more boldly, what they were going to do to be even more faithful and consistent in their investing.
'It confirmed what we thought was necessary six years ago: a place where this whole burgeoning world of faiths and their assets, their investments, their humanity and their passion for people and the planet could meet. Not just to talk but to say: "What do we collectively do next?" and "What do I need to get going so that next time there's even more to share?" '
FaithInvest's Director of Movement Building Lorna Gold agreed: 'The biggest thing I wanted to get out of this event was to create a sense of momentum towards faith-consistent investing. I think we went a long way at this conference in having the essential conversations that need to happen in order to build that momentum towards shifting the money into sustainable investments.'
'Many thanks for an excellent and riveting conference experience. It was so well planned, executed and inspirational in raising the game and being bold. I am brimming with ideas and projects and could not sleep last night' – a participant at our Bold Plans event
Mathew Jensen, FaithInvest's Director of Investment Solutions, said for him the event was all about empowerment: 'I really want faith asset owners to feel empowered in their discussions with their asset managers and other service providers that they can get the things they want to reflect in their investments – that they can ask for them, maybe in some cases demand them.'
Amy Clarke, co-founder of Tribe Impact Capital, was at Bold Plans. She also took part in the 2017 Zug meeting, organised by FaithInvest's parent organisation, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, which led to the establishment of FaithInvest two years later. That meeting saw the publication of the Zug Guidelines, which outlined for the first time the investment priorities for dozens of traditions from eight of the world's major faiths.
'What I've been really struck by today is how much further forward we are in the movement to mobilise the wealth that the faiths have, and that's not just the financial wealth, it's the physical wealth through their buildings and land,' she said.
The message we're hearing is that this is possible, we can create a future where everyone and everything thrives. And that has been, for me, one of the most empowering, reassuring and uplifting energies of the last two days' – Amy Clarke, Tribe Impact Capital
Amy Clarke added: ''It's really clear that things have changed. There is a phenomenal community of new members here who weren't in Zug. The conversation has certainly moved on and there's a real desire and a passion to do this. I think the thing that's disappointing to hear is that there is still such a high level of frustration from the community in terms of the level of support they're getting to do this.
'But if we can work together as a community with the finance sector, we can really do this and that's the message we're hearing – that this is possible, we can create a future where everyone and everything thrives. And that has been, for me, one of the most empowering, reassuring and uplifting energies of the last two days.'
'Warmest gratitude for your great conference – perfect venue, a lot of exciting guests, thought provoking debates that helped to delve deeper into the faith invest space and especially for me in my interest to connect “big” investment to local impact for those our faith asks us to serve most, and most urgently' – a participant at our Bold Plans event
Bold Plans and Faith-Consistent Investing took place on Wednesday 26 to Thursday 27 October at Christchurch, Spitalfields, London, E1 6LY.
It was organised by FaithInvest, founded in 2019 to grow the scale and impact of faith-consistent investing worldwide (www.faithinvest.org), and supported by Accounting for Sustainability, established by HM King Charles III in 2004, when he was The Prince of Wales, to drive a fundamental shift towards resilient business models and a sustainable economy (www.accountingforsustainability.org).
The event took place a year after the ground-breaking October 2021 appeal to the UN's COP26 climate conference signed by the Pope and 40 faith leaders, in which they committed to 'aligning investments' and creating 'bold plans' to make their own organisations more sustainable. It also took place five years after the Zug conference.
Download the full report of the event below
Download the programme below.