Finance for Sustainability: Daughters of Themis Workshop 2019
The fifth international workshop of Daughter of Themis brought together twelve business scholars from different countries to discuss ways of enhancing finance for sustainability.
Workshop session at Cavo Perlevos
For four days (4-7 June 2019) they worked together in the harmonious environment of the Cavo Perlevos guesthouse, with the breath-taking view of the Aegean Sea surrounding the island of Kea in the background.
The workshop sessions consisted of presentations of the participants’ papers, with two assigned discussants for each paper, which gave insightful inputs and suggestions for the further development of the research, followed by a 45-minutes discussion per paper. Conversations also continued over lunches (at Anna’s Taverna), during dinners, and on the Beach.
The new challenge of financing sustainability
The intimate atmosphere (and the possibility of sipping a Greek frappe while working) allowed for open and in-depth discussions. The participants discussed the importance of making changes in the financial system to contribute to filling the investment gap for infrastructure for renewables and, more broadly, shifting businesses towards sustainability.
The workshop began with an analysis of the European Commission's sustainable finance initiative, with emphasis on the need to complexify the current approach (Beate Sjåfjell) and undertake a critical review of the concrete proposals (María Muñoz-Torres). Other selected papers focused the role of institutional investors in promoting sustainability (especially pension funds, Xenia Karametaxas) as well the convergence of investors and NGOs driving sustainability reforms. (Hanna Ahlström); and on the impact the EU sustainable finance initiative may have on company law (Anne-Christin Mittwoch). There were also papers on other important aspects of finance for sustainability, including on access to finance for circular economy (Lela Mélon); and on innovative financial instruments that could – if properly effected – enhance sustainability, such as social bonds (Diletta Lenzi) and Islamic finance (Gabriella Gimigliano). The discussion was also enriched with a contribution on State public aid and on how it can be connected to social and environmental sustainability (Malgorzata Cyndecka).
The workshop was not limited to the EU, thanks to contributions concentrating on Africa: the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (Adure Uzo-Peters), and on finance for sustainability in weak institutional contexts (Simisola Akintoye); as well as Turkish case study, of Borsa Istanbul, focusing on the impact of board’s gender structure on climate change disclosure and performance (Melsa Ararat).
Enriched by the different backgrounds of the participants, the discussion covered financial, economic and legal aspects. And as always, the workshop week also provided ample opportunities for creating new bonds and strengthening old ones – an important aspect of the annual workshop.
Outlook: planning the joint publication and the Daughters of Themis quinquennial event
The presented papers will form the basis for a book proposal on finance for sustainability; this very topical and important theme. Towards the end of the workshop, the participants discussed how to best move forward with the joint publication.
On the last day, the newly elected Steering Committee of 2019-2020 discussed plans for the Daughters of Themis workshop 2020. The workshop will be held in the first week of June 2020, in the same venue on Kea. The call for papers for the 2020 workshop will be launched in the autumn of 2019, and the theme will be on contemporary theories of corporate law and corporate governance in light of the challenges of our time. We expect a number of bright female business scholars to respond to this opportunity!
But there is more: hold the dates 15-17 October 2020! Daughters of Themis have decided to organise a quinquennial meeting, open for all members, with the first one being in 2020.
The 2020 event will be held in Istanbul (Turkey), thanks to the hospitality and initiative of Professor Melsa Ararat.