The senior post is created as part of a five-year partnership with Swiss investment firm Lombard Odier, the university said
The sustainable finance took another step towards the mainstream this week, with the announcement that Oxford University has created the first professorship dedicated to the emerging investment sector in partnership with Swiss investment firm Lombard Odier.
The Lombard Odier Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow of Sustainable Finance will be based at Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment within the School of Geography and the Environment, the University announced today.
The post is part of a five-year collaboration with Lombard Odier, which will see the Swiss firm draw on the university's research to inform its own investment decisions.
Oxford will establish a programme for the training of Lombard Odier's investment professionals, the body said, while Oxford scholars will be able to access the Swiss firm's research and product innovation programmes.
"There are unprecedented investment opportunities associated with the global sustainability transition," said Hubert Keller, managing partner at Lombard Odier.
"Sustainability has always been at the heart of Lombard Odier's approach to its business and investment philosophy and we are consistently investing in these capabilities. Through their unique and leading capabilities in sustainable finance, we are excited to be working with the University of Oxford with the objective to increase the impact of sustainable investments."
The first person to occupy the position will be Dr Ben Caldecott, currently director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme and COP26 Strategy Advisor for Finance at the UK Cabinet Office.
"Sustainable finance is a structural change in both the demand and provision of financial products and services. It is also mission critical for tackling the massive environmental and social challenges facing humanity," Caldecott said.
"But for sustainable finance to be itself sustainable, it needs greater academic rigour, as well as pedagogy to scale the adoption of best practice. This is a huge agenda for both practitioners and researchers, and as the Lombard Odier endowment implies, these questions and issues will endure in some form for many generations. There are also many very immediate questions, such as how to ensure investor portfolios are aligned with climate outcomes, that we'll seek to answer much more quickly over the coming months and years."
Sustainable finance has been a burgeoning area for investors in recent years, with successive records being set for the issuance of green bonds, which reached $255bn in 2019.
The pandemic dampened growth in green bonds issuances but redirected energy to other sources of sustainable finance, resulting in record performance for social and other sustainability bonds, with total sustainable bonds issuance - including green bonds - reaching $100bn during the second quarter of 2020, according to Moody's.
The investment service estimated that sustainable bonds issuances could reach between $325bn and $375bn through 2020, with green bonds making up between half and two-thirds of that total.
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