The International Climate Finance Accelerator Luxembourg (ICFA) organized its flagship event, the Climate Finance Forum 2023, on Friday, 26 May 2023 at Neimenster Abbey in Luxembourg City. The forum delved into the challenges how to tackle pressing climate issues through finance, and to collectively work on solutions to overcome these barriers through inspirational keynote speeches and thematic roundtable discussions.
Stephan Peters, CEO of the ICFA, opened the Climate Finance Forum 2023 by welcoming all the attendees and giving a brief introduction to the event’s schedule, the ICFA’s work and achievements (view here). After the welcome speech, the opening remarks started with a recorded video by the Luxembourg Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes (view here), and followed by a presentation by Claudia Hitaj representing the Ministry of Environment, Climate, and Sustainable Development (view here).
Once the opening remarks were concluded, three keynote speeches were presented on the main stage:
- Patrick Losch, a renowned impact entrepreneur and Forest Builder and Caretaker, delivered a keynote speech on “Field experience on how to bring climate finance projects in balance with biodiversity and social responsibility” and explored projects in Luxembourg, Guatemala and Bangladesh (view here).
- Piet Colruyt, Founder of Impact Capital, delivered a keynote speech on “Impact financing: The broad spectrum from philanthropy to impact investing with market returns”. He shared his insights on the evolution on impact investing and the challenges that investors face in measuring and reporting on impact (view here).
- Carmen Niethammer, Senior Gender Specialist at the EIB, ended the keynote speeches session by exploring the topic of “Woman as climate leaders: the profitable pathway to sustainable development” where she highlighted the critical role women play in climate action leadership, both in the public and the private sector (view here).
Laurence Hulin, Programme Director at the ICFA, introduced the afternoon session on the plenary hall (view here). It started with the Actors of Change sessions, presenting four emerging fund managers and members of various ICFA cohorts:
- Scott Onder, Chief Investment Officer at Mercy Corps Ventures presented their project and gave valuable insights on the challenges and opportunities in venture investing in frontier markets, climate and fintech (view here).
- Pjotr Schade, Founder of Evenpar, showcased how they are making a difference in the fight against climate change and highlighted their innovative investment strategies which aim to increase access to energy and sanitation in emerging markets (view here).
- Lucy Mortimer, Co-founder of Archipelago Eco Investors, who supports new and innovative breakthrough technologies that that can both decarbonise the plastics sector and decreased plastic pollution (view here).
- Romain Diaz, CEO and Founder of Satgana, talked about how they are tackling the climate change while leveraging business as a force for good, through their globally distributed team, to build high impact solutions to the climate and ecological emergency (view here).
Next, four expert sessions made by E&Y (Anna Illarionova), LuxFLAG (Isabelle Delas and Annemarie Arens), Deloitte (Elodie Vandewoestyne) and Incofin (Kapil Kanungo and Noémie Renier) where speakers emphasized the importance of reliable climate data, labelling, PAI indicators, and impact measurement for fund managers to scale up climate action.
In addition to the previous sessions, sixteen diverse roundtables were organized during the Climate Finance Forum: two rounds of eight parallel roundtable sessions in the morning and in the afternoon.
Several important topics were discussed such as impact investment challenges, gender, access to climate finance, renewable energies and many others. Here are the three key takeaways from the roundtables:
- When fundraising, know who you reach out to but also who you don’t reach out to.
- Gender should be embedded in all climate action.
- Investors in funds should lean into the process, and proactively engage with their fund managers to improve and advance.
The last session of the day, titled ‘Roundtable Conclusions’, was led by Martijn Blom, Network Builder at the ICFA and ‘Wearer of Many Hats’ (view here).
In addition to summarizing the roundtables and instilling key takeaways, the session also included discussions around the importance, objectives and principles of Communities of Practice (CoP) to better support emerging impact funds.
The ICFA issued a Call to Action for anyone interested to join and contribute to a CoP within the community.
As the Climate Finance Forum 2023 drew to a close, and in a moment of camaraderie and reflection, participants gathered in a joyful atmosphere, raising their glasses to celebrate a successful event and savouring delectable amuse-bouches by Patrice Bras. Each attendee received a notebook with a design related to climate and sustainability, as a nice souvenir of this event.
With more than 120 attendees in-person and up to 400 online, the ICFA hopes that the Climate Finance Forum has created opportunities for pioneers and leaders in the climate finance space to connect, to share insights on key trends, and to forge long-term partnerships between each other.
To view the recordings of the Climate Finance Forum 2023, go to our YouTube page.
Note, the roundtable discussions were not recorded.