An ecosystem to fast track Social and Impact Investment
GO LEARN, GO NETWORK, GO INVEST
An ecosystem to fast track
Social and Impact Investment
Bridging the great divide between the talk and action, accelerating the Sustainable Development agenda from intention to implementation – GoImpact means Impact made easy and actionable.
We are an ecosystem developed to connect the dots and provide action enablers built around 3 key pillars – GoLearn (education); GoNetwork (structured advocacy); GoInvest (deal flow platform for sustainable investments). Through our partners network with online-to-offline initiatives, we connect investors with deals relevant to their interests and provide learning opportunities to drive real change by example for everyone who is keen to understand more about the Sustainable Finance agenda.
Singapore-based fund management platform Gordian Capital is launching an environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund with GoImpact, an ecosystem dedicated to sustainable investments. Gordian Capital manages $3.3 billion in private equity, venture capital, real estate, private credit and hedge funds across 60 funds since 2005. According to a statement, the fund aims to launch in Q1 2020. Most of its investors are Asian family offices, and they aim to accumulate about $100 million of assets under management. The fund is understood to be targeting net positive ESG corporates that deliver good returns based on a “tested and proven ESG framework”. The fund added that it also looks to the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) for its ESG standards – grouping its 17 sustainable development goals into five areas of focus: climate, education, health, inclusion and biodiversity. The fund is led by Helene Li, Clarence T’ao and Andy Ann, former entrepreneurs, bankers from the Asia Pacific. Clarence T’ao, partner of GoImpact said: “GoImpact is excited to bring to the Asian market an ESG Fund which combines the best of European Nordic expertise and deep roots in Asian market knowledge. Together with the liquidity of the Fund, this will appeal to the investment appetite of family offices.” The fund added that this will be a Singapore-domiciled entity under the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) VCC pilot programme. The VCC framework is a newly unveiled structure aimed at drawing fund managers to domicile their funds in the Asian city-state over jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands. The VCC structure launches on January 15, 2020. “The VCC is a well-designed, user-friendly, tax-efficient fund structure that will provide asset managers based in Singapore an option to launch and operate a Singapore-domiciled vehicle. Both the asset management industry and investors look forward to enjoying the benefits of the newly established VCC regime for funds utilizing both public and private strategies,” said Gordian Capital founder and CEO Mark Voumard. VCCs are required to file their financial statements with ACRA, the regulator in Singapore. However, the details are not required to be publicly available, which would allow investors privacy. ESG investments crossed the $30-trillion mark in 2018 and are set to keep rising, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. In recent years, consumers have been shifting towards more environmentally conscious buying. Investors have also been demanding more transparent reporting in their portfolios. However, with the exception of UNDP’s principles, definitions around ESG investing remain highly ambiguous.
First-of-its-kind alliance has been formed to drive the acceleration of sustainable finance through data; founding members include Refinitiv, World Economic Forum, United Nations, IIF, ASIFMA, Tsinghua University, OMFIF, GFMA, Climate Bonds Initiative, FinTech4good, Everledger, Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, Bank of Africa-BMCE and GoImpact. Davos/London/New York/Singapore – Building on its commitment to drive positive change through its data and insight, Refinitiv has today announced the launch of the Future of Sustainable Data Alliance (The Alliance) in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, United Nations, IIF, OMFIF, Tsinghua University, ASIFMA, GFMA, Climate Bonds Initiative, FinTech4good, Everledger, Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, Bank of Africa-BMCE, GoImpact and other founding member firms. The objective of The Alliance is to accelerate the mobilization of capital into sustainable finance. The Alliance will solve the question: What data do investors and governments need to meet the requirements of both regulators and customers for sustainable investments and products in pursuit of the 2030 Agenda. The Alliance: “Fundamental ESG data access and additional alternative data sets are seen as key drivers to help investors make sustainable investment decisions and positively contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” Climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) continue to accelerate the drive towards sustainable finance, however information to quantify, measure and compare impact is in its infancy. Companies both public and private require disclosure standards on tracking, managing and reporting such information to their stakeholders. The lack of actionable data and standards results in capital markets that are unable to fully understand and integrate sustainability considerations, and as a result allocate capital to inefficient and sometimes environmentally or socially damaging activities, projects and assets. Fundamental ESG and alternative data are required to make sustainable investment decisions and to positively contribute to the UN SDGs. The Alliance aims to identify and consolidate the data required now and in the future. David Craig, CEO of Refinitiv, said: “The need to channel capital towards the UN SDGs is urgent and the financing requirement immense. Today, many asset managers state that they don’t have enough data to help finance major transitions such as changes in demographics, climate change or addressing the shifts in global markets. It is therefore critical to define and make ESG more of a science than an art. Refinitiv is proud to be a founding member of the Future of Sustainable Data Alliance and is committed to providing investors with the data they need to channel capital towards the financing of the SDGs.” Mainstreaming climate and environmental data into capital markets in decision-useful form requires standardization. With greater support and collaboration for standardization and innovation, investors will have the guidance and tools needed to tailor their investments and fulfil their fiduciary duties through: better quality and more widely available data on sustainability and performance; superior data analytics through the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning; and more informed judgements of strategic resilience. The Alliance is expected to grow over the coming months to include different stakeholder groups with deep expertise in areas covered by the UN SDGs. Its creation was inspired by Refinitiv’s partnership with the UN Secretary General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs and the Future of Finance report, which shows that the availability of reliable ESG data and SDG impact data is crucial for accelerating more SDG investments at scale. Matthew Blake, Head of Financial & Monetary System Initiatives, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum, said: “Access to data is central in the transformation to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. Only through access to fundamental ESG data can firms make informed sustainable investment decisions and comply with UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are delighted the Future of Sustainable Data Alliance is forming to take on this critical role ensuring that this much needed commodity is structured and made widely available.” Tim Adams, President and CEO of the Institute of International Finance, said: “Reaching the ambitious targets set forth in the UN SDGs will require mobilizing trillions of dollars’ worth of funding for sustainable projects. Currently the world is sitting on more than USD 300 trillion in global wealth, but there are obstacles to tapping this pool of capital—including a lack of high-quality, accessible, and actionable data. The Future of Sustainable Data Alliance is a critical step towards breaking down these barriers and scaling up funding for the Sustainable Development Goals.” Last year, Refinitiv made several pledges in support of the SDGs. Refinitiv is now carbon neutral and 100% powered by renewable energy. Our next generation of sustainability goals will further strengthen our greenhouse gas emissions targets and disclosures, and we will continue to robustly assess all climate risks and opportunities across the business. Refinitiv is a strategic partner to the UN Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs committed to harnessing the power of data to bring about insight and drive informed decision making. As members of the UN Global Compact, Refinitiv is part of a community of 9,000+ businesses across 135 countries that are committed to operating with responsible business practices at its core. Refinitiv is also a member of the Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance advising the European Commission on the sustainable agenda alongside other private sector experts. Refinitiv has been serving the financial industry with fully integrated and objective ESG data and solutions for over 15 years, providing a fully transparent resource that is trusted by investors and corporates to drive positive impact and make more informed investment decisions. To learn more about the Future of Sustainable Data Alliance, please visit: http://futureofsustainabledata.com/ About Refinitiv Refinitiv is one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure, serving over 40,000 institutions in approximately 190 countries. It provides leading data and insights, trading platforms, and open data and technology platforms that connect a thriving global financial markets community - driving performance in trading, investment, wealth management, regulatory compliance, market data management, enterprise risk and fighting financial crime. For more information visit: www.Refinitiv.com.
Technology is a driving force when it comes to environmental sustainability and with it we’re able to further our efforts to find new ways of saving energy and being greener as a whole. Satellites and AI can be used to closely monitor deforestation and agricultural emissions, machine learning can be used to help develop new low-carbon materials to replace concrete and steel, everything from reducing waste to sustainable transport can be helped with technology. It just needs a global implementation. We’ve had a look into tech influencers discussing environmental sustainability, and sustainability influencers driving the debate where tech is being discussed. Within this report we aim to cover these areas: How to reach Tech audiences on Climate & Environment issues Who is influencing & driving the conversation? Which are the most prominent topics among the tech community? Which tech brands are most engaged by the Sustainability Community? The report below focusses on the period between 1st June 2018 to 31st May 2019. WHO ARE THE INFLUENCERS? We identified the top 5 Tech influencers driving the Environmental Sustainability debate – these are top global tech influencers who are creating original content, and have highly engaged audiences when posting on climate and environmental issues. These influencers should be prioritised for environmental campaigns to reach the tech audience – the full list of 20 is available for download. Top 5 Tech influencers on Environmental Sustainability Top 5 FinServ Influencers driving the Environmental Sustainability Debate Top 150 Most Engaged Tech Influencers on Environmental Sustainability We also identified the top 5 Sustainability influencers leading the debate around Environmental Sustainability where tech is being discussed. These influencers discuss the role of tech in helping to fight and solve key issues around sustainability. Top 5 Sustainability influencers on Environmental Sustainability and Tech topics Top 150 Most Engaged Social Environmental Sustainability Influencers on Environmental Sustainability and Tech Topics WHICH ARE THE KEY TOPICS? We analysed the top 472 global tech influencers who are active on environmental sustainability to identify their hot topics. Overall they generated 35,131 mentions on Environmental Sustainability topics from 1st June 2018 to 31st May 2019. The top ten topics driving the Environmental Sustainability debate among this community were identified below. Renewables was the most discussed topic by tech influencers, generating 1,108 mentions (22% of the whole conversation) followed by Reducing Emissions comprising 765 posts (15% of the debate) and Energy Efficiency accumulating 762 posts (15% of the debate). Key Topic Attention WHICH TECH BRANDS ARE MOST ENGAGED BY THE COMMUNITY? In the Global English debate on Environmental Sustainability we identified the top 5 Tech brands influencing this community. Siemens Energy was the most engaged tech brand in the global environmental sustainability debate over the time period 1st March to 30th May 2019. The other top 4 brands were Google Cloud, SAP, Microsoft and LG Electronics. Top 5 Influential Tech Brands In the Global Sustainability Debate Environmental sustainability is not only of high importance globally, but it is also such a broad topic that filters into a multitude of sectors. Looking at it from as many different angles as possible is the best way to get a well-rounded view, and find the influencers that are of specific interest to you. The full report with additional influencers is available below. Download the Full Report at https://onalytica.com/blog/posts/tech-and-environmental-sustainability-top-40-influencers/ Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking correlates to a strong indication of influence – however no definitive measurement of influence exists. The individuals listed here are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion around Tech and Environmental Sustainability. Onalytica’s PageRank based methodology is used to extract influential experts on a particular topic and takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives – this allows us to identify Topical Authority (reference) – our priority influence metric. We analyzed topical authority via their social engagement on Twitter and how much influential experts were referenced in association with Tech and Environmental Sustainability on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Forums, Blogs, News and Tumblr content. These calculations also take into account a user’s resonance (topical engagement) relevance (number of posts on topic, and % relevance – the proportion of their social content on the topic) and reach (number of followers). If you want to learn more, please read our article that outlines How to identify your target influencers.
From talk to action ; from sideline to mainstage The first half of 2019 has been “eventful” in the literal sense of the word. In my new role as Co-Founder of GoImpact, our platform has been fortunate to engage with forerunners in the sustainable development space, being Knowledge Partner with Financial Times in the “Investing for Good Asia” Forum in April; acting as one of the Judges for the Liveability Challenge organized by Temasek Foundation with whom we are a Strategic Partner; and joining forces with many financial institutions and large corporations as the market traction for Sustainable Finance is fast escalating. However, is this a false dawn or a true momentum? Are we, as a group of dedicated practitioners and advocates, able to move beyond the talk (which there is no lack of …) to real action? And mobilize this critical agenda from the sidelines to mainstage? The rhetoric is louder than ever ….. The gaps and hurdles are still plentiful ….. Three main gaps to plug – Understanding, Data, Collaboration Of the myriad of issues hampering the development of Sustainable Finance, there are three major gaps that we need to plug, in order to scale up and speed up. Understanding Gap A tendency to “preach to the converted”, in a language filled with coined acronyms and academic debates that contributes to walling in Sustainable Finance as alternative rather than mainstream. Metrics are developed by various practitioners but the perceived challenges of having common benchmarks for investors to relate to are often magnified to the point that it becomes a “show stopper”. Data Gap Data are fragmented and hence, not readily accessible in a relevant and orderly manner as investors (particularly institutional investors and ulta high net worth private capital owners) rightly expect, and much needed to drive scalable actions. Collaboration Gap Rapid market traction of this agenda often stays at the superficial, theatrics and publicity level. We are seeing recently, market and regulatory demands that drive this to a more substantial level though. To accelerate and scale sustainable investments, we need enablers and platforms that connect the disjointed stakeholder groups, simplify and clarify the investment universe, and advocate in a practical action-driven manner, rather than annual gatherings of the “converted” preaching the same mantra and lamenting the same problems to a similar audience that become sponsorship revenues for the organizers but does not truly “move the needle”. Here is a short video clip from the opening panel at Financial Times “Investing for Good” Asia Forum, where I highlighted these gaps to a highly engaged audience of investors and finance industry professionals Capital is moving towards sustainable investments – Is it fast enough? Ready enough for investors at large? While the data captured in the latest Sustainability Trends Report (extracted infographics below) from Generation Investments point to an encouraging upward trend for sustainable investments, to mobilize private capital en masse, we are still lacking the readiness of information and knowledge access, and effective framework around which ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) metrics can be integrated into investors’ portfolio management. In the past few years, ESG focus in Asia has received a huge boost on the back of government and regulators initiatives. Mandatory ESG disclosure and clearer guidelines for ESG reporting are all working to improve corporate transparency. Stock exchanges in a number of countries including Hong Kong, Thailand have made it compulsory for listed companies to disclose their sustainability information. China is following suit, with all listed companies there having to report on ESG risks and related disclosures by 2020. Such top-down focus is expected to further drive improved corporate governance that will positively influence sustainable investment opportunities. With the exponential growth of technologies and their adoption by capital markets, such as Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, we are in a much better position than ever before to scale up sustainable investments. Indeed, “capital for good” and “tech for good” are the twin engines to achieve the 2030 Plan for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the excellent backdrop that United Nations have provided as a blue print for a better livelihood and better Planet. Just as the distinction between online and bricks-and-mortar retail will increasingly blur in the next decade, so will the distinction between impact and mainstream investing. Surely, the ultimate goal for sustainable investment is to make this term redundant – a time when every investment is a sustainable impact investment.
I am a management consultant by training, alumni of Boston Consulting Group and Willis Towers Watson, and spent most of my career in the finance industry, holding top management positions in bulge bracket institutions like JPMorgan Chase and BNP Paribas Wealth Management. There are two topics that define my career – sustainable finance and digital transformation. How can we deploy capital and tech for good are not only my passion but my commitment to building a platform like GoImpact to help accelerate. Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now? Absolutely, I don’t think I would be bold enough to walk away from the security of a big corporate role to build this platform, be it extremely timely and much needed, if I did not have a thorough background and established network in both Finance and Sustainable Development, across public and private sectors. CX and why it is a battleground for the financial services sector incumbents & challengers? More than ever more, customers are in the driving seat. Technology and digitalisation have given them much more readily available information, and social media has given everyone a voice. If firms do not truly address the needs of customers and be mindful of their journey when using the firms’ products or services, customers will move on. Even for financial services, the relationship is a lot less sticky than you would assume. Having customers as the focus of this relationship is vital, it is not just about building shiny new things to digitise the customer journey. This is challenging for incumbents as they have layers of legacy systems and issues to deal with, and for challengers, they need to build a critical mass quickly before they can have the clout and credibility to roll out CX. Sustainable Finance – what’s missing, and what’s next? This is a huge momentum fast gaining traction, but the talk is still far louder than the action. A major challenge is how to get mainstream finance sector onboard in an actionable and realistic manner, not just propaganda talk and discussion forums where we see same old faces in same old places talking about same old issues year after year. The finance sector is keen to respond to needs of capital owners, and this is something that GoImpact as a platform is working to educate, advocate and accelerate by connecting the dots that drives next step actions. Inclusion – why it’s a key driver for the future of work As the workforce becomes more mobile and diverse, it is important to embrace the perspectives of different backgrounds in order to meet the needs of fast shifting demands. Inclusion is multi-dimensional, and to be effective, we need to look at the inclusion of gender, age, race, culture. There are lots of market data that prove diverse and inclusive teams outperform those that are not, so inclusion is about productivity and adapting to the future of work. How can people find out more about you & your work? Well, you can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn and all the social pages and website of GoImpact.
Bringing diversity to the workplace has been a strategic focus for companies to raise their competitive advantage. However, diversity could not be achieved without an inclusive culture, our conversation with Debra Ruh, CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT explores the importance of creating an inclusive workplace to prepare for the future of work. Economies are now challenged by the effects of the ageing population and rapid shift in technology, many fear they are not equipped enough for the work and the jobs that are becoming available. While bringing forward education and awareness is the first step towards inclusion, we have to ensure whether individuals want to work, and whether they have the tools, education and opportunities made available and accessible to them. While emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain are drivers for future economies and enablers for inclusion, there are concerns on programming unconscious biases into systems that could potentially affect millions of people. Debra shared a discussion she had with Rob Neuhauser, the President of Siemens in Germany. They chatted about the importance of addressing issues of unconscious bias with five generations in the same workforce and how such dynamics can help build better technologies. In one of Siemens initiatives, they created innovative courses and empowered workers to understand how their brain works, over half of their employees took the course voluntarily and applied it to the recruitment process. To their surprise, they were hiring 50% more women engineers than in the past. As Debra emphasized, “really think about diversity in a different way, because when we think about it differently, we see more creativeness and innovation.” Creating a culture of inclusion brings in different types of people and ideas that fuel creativity and innovation as a collective, whereas hiring “mini-me’s” who have the same background and thinking limits the capacity for ideas to clash and conversations for the next big thing to happen. By embracing inclusion, Siemens is able to close the gap and optimize its workforce, hence delivering better service and products. This is just one example from Debra. Listen to the full exchange here. Follow us for more insights from our guests on GoImpact Chats podcast.
Some corporates see sustainability as a box-ticking exercise. Others see it as the future of business and try to seize the opportunity. With growing businesses across China, New World Development Company Limited (NWD) is not only a forerunner in real estate development, but also in pushing forward the sustainable agenda. We are lucky to chat with Ellie Tang, the group’s Head of Sustainability in the GoImpact Chats podcast. In this episode, we learn about the group’s journey and commitment to building a better society through innovation and sustainable growth. Listed companies in Hong Kong are required to comply with ESG reporting because of this process, NWD realizes how crucial sustainability is in the modern living culture and the corporate world. Inspired by the United Nations SDGs, the group debuted the New World Sustainability Vision 2030, where they pledge to deliver impactful products and services with green, wellness, smart and caring characteristics, creating shared value for stakeholders and the society. In March 2019, the group launched the Green Finance Framework, which was developed to guide the funding of sustainable building development and enhancements through green bonds or loans. Under this program, NWD has successfully raised its first green loan and it will be used to support K11 ATELIER King’s Road, a green commercial redevelopment project in North Point, Hong Kong. This building has achieved some of the world’s first, such as WELL Building Standard Pre-certification (Platinum), BEAM Plus New Building Version 1.2 (Provisional Platinum) to name a few. “It is definitely an ongoing journey. The trend is gaining momentum so fast, it needs multiple players from different regions to come together and decide on what makes sense.” Ellie shares, “We have to choose the most practical projects in order to capture real opportunities and materialize financial benefits and in turn, prompt more players to join this movement.” At GoImpact, we cannot agree more that more players are needed to mobilize this agenda and bring real impact. Sustainability in Asia is still at its early stage. Listen to the full exchange here and discover more from Ellie. Subscribe and follow us for insight from more upcoming podcast guests.
Who is driving the global conversation about disruptive innovation in financial markets? Today, Refinitiv is launching the #RefinitivSocial100, a list of the top social media influencers in financial technology. The #RefinitivSocial100 recognizes individuals who passionately share views and drive conversation on social media about the finance industry. This initial list was based on four key metrics, using a combination of Twitter and LinkedIn data: Impressions, Relevance, Resonance, and Reach. In addition to the overall global rankings (1-100), we have segmented the list into regional top fives for Europe, North America and Asia. Driven by rapid developments in technology, the finance sector is experiencing unprecedented changes. From AI and machine learning, to cloud technology, big data and digitalization of wealth management, we are seeing profound change as technology and innovation disrupts the sector globally. What better time, then, to launch a ranking of the world’s most influential social media users in financial technology? To showcase the interesting conversations they are starting, we have brought together all our #RefinitivSocial100 in a single place. In the coming months, we will be running a series of events featuring the #RefinitivSocial100. Their insights will be shared on our website, and via our social channels. Watch: The top 100 global social media influencers in financial technology: #RefinitivSocial100 How was it compiled and ranked? To produce the #RefinitivSocial100 list, we worked with a team of analysts who are specialized in social media, to create a list of over more than 300 global influencers. This initial list was based on four key metrics, compiled through a combination of Twitter and LinkedIn data: Impressions: how many times their posts appeared in social streams. Relevance: how much they are focusing on the biggest conversations in financial technology. Resonance: how much their posts are engaged with. Reach: the number of people their posts reach. The list was subsequently sorted according to Topical Engagement, which is a combination of Relevance (number of on-topic posts) and Resonance (normalized engagement score). This enabled us to produce our final standings and identify the top 100. You may check the full list at https://www.refinitiv.com/en/top-100-finance-social-media-influencers/ In addition to the overall global rankings (1-100), we have segmented the list into regional top fives for Europe, North America and Asia. The #RefinitivSocial100 list showcases individuals who share their views and drive global conversations on social media out of sheer passion for the finance industry rather than as a core part of their job. To reflect this, we have excluded journalists and analysts from the list and, to avoid any hint of cronyism, we also excluded Refinitiv employees. Who are the #RefinitivSocial100? The #RefinitivSocial100 are thinkers, conversations-starters and connection-makers, who create insightful content, share up-to-the-minute news and drive topical debate on Twitter and LinkedIn. Their number includes CEOs, start-up founders, keynote speakers, technologists, practitioners, and change-makers. Their overall reach and influence on conversations within the finance sector is impressive. Together, they have more than 4.7 million followers and, in 2019, have published 65,000 social media posts, driving 474 million impressions. Their posts attract more than 38,000 engagements — likes, replies and shares — every week. The top 5 ranked social media influencers in financial technology Jim Marous — @JimMarous Jim is an internationally recognized financial industry strategist, co-publisher of The Financial Brand and the owner and publisher of the Digital Banking Report. Spiros Margaris — @SpirosMargaris Spiros is a keynote speaker at international fintech and insurtech conferences, and publisher of articles on innovation and thought-leadership. Efi Pylarinou — @efipm Efi is an independent fintech/blockchain advisor and Co-Founder of Daily FinTech. She holds a PhD in Finance and is an experienced Wall Street professional. Matteo Carbone — @MCins_ Matteo is non-Executive Director and Co-Founder of IoT Insurance Observatory, an insurtech thought leader, keynote speaker, and writer on insurance innovation. He ranks among the top international insurtech Influencers. Duena Blomstrom — @DuenaBlomstrom Duena is CEO and Co-Founder of PeopleNotTech. She is a Forbes contributor, keynote speaker blogger and author. Refinitiv invite you to follow and join the conversation via #RefinitivSocial100 on social media.
In order for current and future generations to have a sense of comfort and enjoyment from nature, we must act now to build a sustainable future. There is still hope for mother Earth, with the power of AI and collaboration. Our fourth episode of GoImpact Chats, Richard Peers from Microsoft tells us what is being done through technology and partnerships, what is missing, and the next steps to a greener future. In our interview, Richard speaks of the data gap in bridging talk and action, and how Microsoft is positioning itself for impact with an internal carbon “tax” and externally with AI for Earth. As we move from a brown economy to a green economy, it is important to incorporate technology and collect data relevant to pushing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He gave an example of Silviaterra, a company that makes use of satellite imagery to help farmers plan their harvest by identifying suitable terrain and providing accurate projections of crop yields. Another company combines AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) approach, utilizing cloud technology to transfer and store data collected and AI processed insights. Both companies serve as examples of how businesses can leverage technology and bring meaningful insights from the data to reduce carbon footprint and water wastage in agriculture. Microsoft has been making a conscious effort to push environmental impact. Since 2012, Microsoft’s carbon offset program resulted in 3.3 million metric tons of carbon reduced or avoided, impacted 8.2 million people through community benefits, and protected about 5.1 million acres of forest. This carbon offset program is merely a demonstration of Microsoft’s commitment to a cleaner world. They are also dedicated to renovating their data centers to zero-carbon emission facilities as well as reducing their carbon footprint on their smart campuses. In 2017, Microsoft set aside 50 Million USD for their “AI for Earth” program that provides grants to anyone with an idea that meets their conservation goals empowered by AI. The grant offers participants access to the Azure platform and other Microsoft products, eliminating the barrier to get in touch with and utilize technology for a better future. Richard also talks in depth about the need for integrated reporting in finance to enable data collection for smarter investment in the impact space. With proper data, companies can complete their ESG reporting more accurately to meet their corporate social responsibility requirements. To get to know more about Richard’s unique insights, and how Microsoft is helping protect our planet, tune in to our full episode.