Since its inception three years ago, AICC has worked to promote sustainability finance in an African context. The financial services sector plays a very different role to other industry sectors in contributing to sustainable development and has responded far more slowly to the challenges and opportunities that sustainability presents. Private sector financial institutions are particularly behind in this respect. One of the key reasons for this has been the fact that the finance sector itself does not have a significant social or environmental ‘footprint’. It is only recently – as the spotlight has turned to the financial sector in regard to its position as an intermediary, and the pivotal role it therefore plays in assessing and potentially mitigating risk, including social and environmental risk – that a change in approach is beginning to emerge. Therefore, it has been a long term intention of the AICC to establish a Centre for Sustainability Investing [CSI].
The CSI aims to be a catalyst in embedding sustainability in the financial sector in Africa, so that that sector plays a meaningful role in Africa’s sustainable development. It aims to do this by adopting a leadership role in research, advocacy, capacity building and in stimulating discussion and debate.