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Green Financing: Sustainability Meets Profitability

Posted by Arya Chatterjee

June 27, 2024

Why choose between saving the planet and boosting profits when you can do both?

In the high-stakes universe of finance, where the pursuit of profit often overlooks the planet’s well-being, a remarkable shift is occurring. Sustainable investing, once a niche field for eco-warriors, is now a juggernaut that’s transforming the land of finance.

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The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) reported that the total value of sustainable assets under management (AUM) crossed over $30 trillion in 2022, making it clear that green financing is not a fad but a future. But it isn’t just about hugging trees and saving polar bears, though both are laudable pursuits. It’s about cold, hard cash.

Companies that have made the strategic decision to invest in sustainability are reaping the rewards, with over 80% of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) funds outperforming traditional portfolios even during the pandemic. This success story is a testament to the financial viability of sustainable investments, offering a beacon of hope for those who may have been hesitant to embrace this shift.

The rise of sustainable finance

Fundamentally, sustainable finance is directing capital to projects and businesses that are environmentally conscious, socially responsible, and governed by principles (ESG criteria). The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 and the ensuing initiatives like the EU’s Green Deal Investment Plan pledging to reduce EU emissions by at least 55% by 2030, have cemented the role of sustainable finance by aiming to raise $1.14 trillion to achieve this feat. These initiatives underscore the importance of making intelligent, future-proof investments for the planet.

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Similarly, private sector initiatives like BlackRock’s commitment to a net-zero portfolio by 2050 highlight that sustainable finance trends show no signs of slowing, with predictions suggesting that sustainable finance will dominate the market in the upcoming years. Why are these investments outperforming traditional ones?

The answer is in the stability and future-forward strategies of sustainable companies. A study by Fidelity tracked that half of ESGG investments outperformed the market from 1970 to 2014, and during the 2020 pandemic, over 80% of sustainable investment funds outperformed non-ESG portfolios. This results from efficient resource use, stronger regulatory compliance, and enhanced corporate reputation.

How does green financing benefit companies?


     1. Access to Capital

Companies with strong ESG qualifications are finding it easier to raise capital, with green bonds becoming a popular method. A prime example is Santander CIB, which has committed to providing more than €120 billion in green financing by 2025, a move that not only benefits the environment but also financially empowers more than 10 million people. This is just one of the many ways in which green financing can benefit companies.

     2. Operational efficiency

Eco-conscious practices can cut costs and improve operational efficiency. Investments in energy-efficient technologies and zero-waste practices benefit the environment and lower expenses.

     3. Market competitiveness

Companies that prioritize sustainability are not just meeting regulatory stipulations, they are surpassing them. This competitive edge positions them as leaders in their industries, as more and more consumers are choosing brands that align with their values. This success is not just about profits, it’s about making a positive impact and redefining what it means to be a successful business.

     4. Long-term viability

By proactively addressing ESG risks, companies are not just safeguarding their future. They are securing it. Incorporating climate risk assessments into their financial strategies is a smart move that can help mitigate potential losses from climate change impacts. This long-term perspective instills confidence in investors and stakeholders, ensuring the sustainability of the business in more ways than one.

The broader impact on the financial industry

The financial industry’s acceptance of sustainability is reforming market dynamics, with significant institutions integrating ESG criteria into their investment strategies, which are led by global economic trends and regulatory pressures. Establishing the International Sustainability Standards Board by the IFRS Foundation aims to bring more consistency and transparency to sustainability reporting, boosting investor confidence in ESG investments.

Financial technology (FinTech) also plays a crucial role in this revolution. Innovations in FinTech are improving the ability to track, report, and manage ESG data, making it easier for investors to assess the sustainability of their ventures. This marriage of sustainability with technology is the key driver of recent trends in financial markets and financial technology trends.

The road ahead

Despite the promising outlook, challenges are ever present. The talent pool for ESG expertise is still very niche, with a high demand for professionals skilled in sustainable finance. Additionally, the need for standardized ESG reporting poses challenges for consistently evaluating green investments. However, these challenges also give rise to growth and innovation opportunities in this sector.

As we look towards the future, integrating sustainable strategies in finance is beyond any finance industry trend; instead, it is an imperative progression. By seamlessly blending profitability with sustainability, green finance can pave the way for a resilient, inclusive, and prosperous global economy.

So, the message remains transparent for companies and investors: embracing green finance is good for the environment and the business.

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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal, or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please contact us here.


Arya Chatterjee
Arya Chatterjee

Arya Chatterjee is a freelance writer and consultant from Mumbai. With a background in journalism and over five years of creative writing experience working with legacy media like Architectural Digest and Femina India and brands like The Label Life, and Macy's, she crafts unique and compelling stories that engage the readers. She enjoys writing about health, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle and exploring the symbiotic relationship between thriving businesses and happy employees through her writing. She is always looking to explore new avenues to expand her creative energy.

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