RE[act] Sustainable Finance

Attendees received an insight into how sustainable finance has changed the corporate funds landscape, and where their business could find sustainable finance support.

Our story

by Chris McCracken, Linen Quarter BID

The Linen Quarter BID (LQ BID) is an independent not for profit company that focuses on delivering specific improvements based in Belfast city centre, Northern Ireland. The LQ BID was elected in 2018 and represents around 400 member organisations across various sectors, namely hospitality, professional services, and public sector.

In Sept 2021 LQ BID launched Northern Ireland's first sustainable district, with a series of ten initiatives that seeks to make the Linen Quarter the most sustainable business area in the region.

RE[act] featured 30 unique events between 2 – 14 November 2021. RE[act] was a completely new Northern Ireland festival, that sought to inspire - and lead – a more sustainable Belfast (and Northern Ireland). It took place at the same time as COP26, and was aligned with the global conference's daily themes, to help integrate Northern Ireland into the global conversation.

The RE[act] festival was the largest strategic COP26 event in Northern Ireland.

Why are investors seeking and holding funds specifically to invest in companies with an environmental focus? What can sustainable finance offer Northern Ireland's businesses and economy?

This event was with Bod Buckby of London Stock Exchange and William McCulla at Invest NI - attendees received an insight into how sustainable finance has changed the corporate funds landscape, and where their business could find sustainable finance support. After a brief speaker's overview attendees had the opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A session.

Image: Unsplash stock image, K Mitch Hodge

Our advice

The emerging merits of sustainable finance - while becoming the norm - are now fully known to regional businesses. Drawing on knowledge, experience and networks we were able to bring together a small panel of experts to start a public conversation on 1) why should we support an NI sustainable economy, 2) how is the market supporting businesses, and 3) where further advice can be found.

The questions businesses may want to ask themselves are what are the international megatrends affecting our business? How can we make our supply chain more resilient by choosing a more sustainable path? How can we reuse or redesign our products and services to ensure that the demand for these remains? How can we ensure our supply chain is sustainable?

A short introductory structure was developed with the expert panel outlining the enormous opportunity for our cities, local businesses, and the NI Executive to maximise the advantages from the global shift to clean growth through to the development, manufacture and use of low carbon technologies, systems and services that cost less than high carbon alternatives. All important as Northern Ireland sits within a much wider international marketplace.

The event was not developed as a technical workshop rather a high-level concept platform to stimulate further conversation and events - where the merits and the 'hows' can be explored in detail.

We would encourage other cities and districts to consider starting their own early conversations with local business leaders, and government on the benefits of sustainable finance and creating the transition towards a sustainable economy.

Our metrics

People attending event.
Positive evaluation by participants.
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