Elephants in the room will figure large in the two-day 7th international responsible investment conference which begins today at Sydney’s Dockside venue in Darling Harbour.

The ‘elephants in the room’ are ESG (environment, social and governance) challenges, said Louise O’Halloran, executive director of the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia.

“These are issues such as climate change, an aging and growing population, affordable and accessible health care, and increasing competition for scarce natural resources,” she said.

Other such elephants are “vested interests, impacts that can’t be ignored but can’t be priced, opaque disclosure or the use of short-term logic for long-term problems,” she said.

As well, there is “the trivialisation of climate change risk, unpriced externalities, perverse incentives, black swans and lessons unlearned.”

Today, the 9.15am keynote address by Dr Matthew Kiernan, of Canada’s Inflection Point Capital Management, examines the ‘elephants in the room’ for companies wanting to invest sustainably.

Later, at 11.20am, the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s research head, Professor Ruyin Hu, looks at issues facing what is now the world’s sixth largest exchange.

The ESG problems which China’s resources companies face will be a particular focus for Professor Hu.

The Responsible Investment Academy will also be launched by director Neb Jovicic at the two-day conference.

For information, go to www.responsibleinvestment.org


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