Women in Sustainable Finance
Women in Sustainable Finance (WISF) is a networking group based in Australia supporting diversity in sustainable finance. It provides networking, educational and leadership opportunities to women and men progressing their careers in the sustainable-finance sector.
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Sustainable finance is about integrating economic, social and environmental decision-making in an organisation to deliver better overall outcomes, not just for shareholders, but all communities. Diversity is a key component of sustainable finance and there is a growing body of evidence that diverse companies perform better financially.
For example, Harvard Business Review has reported that EBIT margins for companies with diverse management teams are nearly 10 per cent higher than for companies with below-average management diversity. In Australia, research by the Centre for Gender Economics and Innovation, and Infinitas Asset Management found top Australian companies with at least 25 per cent female boards perform more than 7 per cent better than those with all-male boards.
With this evidence in mind, WISF aims to empower a gender-diverse workforce in sustainable finance. The group believes in making a positive contribution to the sustainable-finance sector by providing opportunities for discussion, learning and collaboration.
WISF attracts a diverse cross-section of professionals who are passionate about making a difference at societal level. The group understands that change can be driven through collaboration and by broadening networks across sustainability-linked sectors. Furthermore, to succeed as individuals in professional fields, WISF believes we must come together to support one another and celebrate our achievements.
The initiative started in 2016, recognising that there were many diversity groups in the finance sector but no Australian group with a focus on sustainable investment. What started with a single event at the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) Sydney office with no more than 30 attendees has now grown to a network of more than 1,400 people.
WISF events feature leading speakers on a vast range of industry topics pertinent to the sustainable-finance sector, such as the circular economy, gender-lens investing, renewables investment, the Paris Agreement, sustainable transport and impact investing.
There is no formal membership of the WISF network. Events are free for attendees, thanks to the generosity of hosts and sponsors. All genders are encouraged to attend. WISF events reach people in investment funds, banks, and environment and sustainable development organisations, as well as corporates, and energy and renewable-energy companies.
WISF is backed by CEFC. The group’s many events are made possible thanks to its event sponsors and hosts from across the sector. Past event sponsors include National Australia Bank (NAB), ANZ, HESTA, Bloomberg, Mirvac, Macquarie Bank, Baker & McKenzie, Herbert Smith Freehills, EY, Citibank, Norton Rose Fulbright, KPMG, Arup and Australian Ethical.
Past events include:
• Brisbane: Waste not, want not, hosted by KPMG.
• Melbourne: Integrating SDGs in business and investment strategies, hosted by Arup.
• Melbourne: Investing in sustainable fashion for our future, hosted by NAB.
• Sydney: Rethinking Australian agriculture, hosted by Macquarie.
• Webinar: How do we ensure an equitable transition? hosted by CEFC.
• Webinar: Shining a light on modern slavery, hosted by CEFC.
• Webinar: What will it take to decarbonise the transport sector? supported by Norton Rose Fulbright.
Impact investment event, August 2019