Michael Sippitt, Chairman of Clarkslegal and of the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (the CEIP), on 13 April addressed a session of the 2018 STEP conference in Malta, speaking on ethical and green investment. STEP is the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning, with over 20,000 members across the world.
Michael spoke of the importance of sustainability as a key determinant of investment, of current trends and the impact of investors on climate risk corporate governance and reporting, and of growing risk and reputational concerns regarding business integrity and ethical trade.
As STEP members globally include many professional advisers to wealthy families and investors and providers of corporate services, they have significant influence as well informed experts.
Michael identified the growing sources of good information internationally on responsible investment, and some of the legal risks arising from increasing corporate accountability.
Also increasing concern about risk of stranded assets, such as fossil fuel related investments, was discussed, as many institutional investors are divesting assets and reporting they will monitor risk closer.
Michael emphasised the importance of finance professionals and advisers being well informed on developments around environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in investment. This area of responsible investment is part of major world trends towards greater transparency and corporate reporting.
Michael also addressed issues of human rights abuse risks in global supply chains, and compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act and other international regulation in this field, which may have substantial effect on multinationals if they are accused of human rights abuses in any location within their often complex supply chains.
Michael stated that “It is a privilege to be able to share with so many informed and influential professionals within STEP the key developments in this area of corporate accountability. Ultimately investors are the key to driving greater transparency and integrity, both from ethical motivation and also undeniable self-interest to safeguard investments for the long term.”