UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


The SDGs as an asset class? Getting serious about green finance for development

09 June 2022, 3:30 pm–5:00 pm

green finance

The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) invites you to join this discussion on 'The SDGs as an asset class? Getting serious about green finance for development' as part of the 'Walking the talk: Getting serious about the UN Sustainable Development Goals' event series.

This event is free.

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Join Katie Kedward, Policy Fellow at IIPP as she chairs a panel discussion with Samantha Power, Sustainable Finance Specialist at The World Bank, Fathimath Musthaq, Assistant Professor in Political Science, Reed College and Dharshan Wignarajah, Director of Climate Finance, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) on 'The SDGs as an asset class? Getting serious about green finance for development'. Followed by questions from the audience.

Financial institutions and policymakers are increasingly aware of the risks and opportunities posed by climate change and biodiversity loss, and their developmental implications. In recent years, a captivating narrative within mainstream conservation circles has been that the profit motive of firms can be harnessed to achieve environmental and social goals. Among financial actors the appeal of market-led solutions has manifested in calls for SDG-oriented Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), natural capital valuation frameworks, and the creation of new green financial asset classes such as biodiversity offsets.  

Yet, how do these trends towards financialisation and ‘assetisation’ interact with the ‘on-the-ground’ realities of achieving the SDGs? What trade-offs might be at play when aligning developmental, climate- and biodiversity-related outcomes with the requirements of global financial markets? What role should public financial institutions, including central banks, play to manage these dynamics? This panel event will explore these themes and questions in a stimulating conversation between academics and policymakers. 

Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WalkingTheTalkSDGs.

All events will be held on Zoom. Tickets are free, booking is required. If you are unable to reserve a place you will be able to catch up after the event. Each talk will also be uploaded to our YouTube channel at a later date.

Register and read more about the 'Walking the talk: Getting serious about the UN Sustainable Development Goals' series 

About the Speakers

Katie Kedward

Policy Fellow at UCL IIPP

Katie Kedward
Katie Kedward is an economist and Policy Fellow in Sustainable Finance at IIPP. Her research interests focus on money, banking, and the intersection between finance and the environment. Prior to joining UCL, she worked in capital markets at the Royal Bank of Canada and as a banking specialist at ShareAction, the responsible investment NGO. Katie holds an MSc degree in ecological economics from the University of Leeds and a First Class BA (Hons) from the University of Cambridge. She enjoys speaking about finance and economics at grassroots events, and has contributed to publications such as Open Democracy. Katie sits on the advisory panel for Positive Money UK, an NGO campaigning for a fair, democratic, and sustainable financial system.  More about Katie Kedward

Samantha Power

Sustainable Finance Specialist at The World Bank

Samantha Power
Samantha Power is a Sustainable Finance Consultant in the World Bank’s Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation Global Practice. Samantha works on the World Bank’s Sustainable Finance agenda. She has contributed to research publications on how to mobilise private finance for nature and for adaptation and resilience. She helped develop and launch the World Bank’s Sovereign ESG Data Portal. She is the Coordinator for the ‘mobilizing private finance’ workstream for the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. 

Prior to working at the World Bank Samantha consulted on climate finance and climate policy at boutique consulting firms and for a political candidate. During graduate school she interned in the US Treasury Department’s Environment and Energy Office. She previously lived in Southeast Asia for three years, where she worked for the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and for BRAC in Myanmar.

Samantha graduated with a Masters in International Affairs and International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 2017. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economics from Louisiana State University.

More about Samantha Power

Fathimath Musthaq

Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Reed College

Fathimath Musthaq is a visiting assistant professor in political science at Reed College. Fathimath’s research interests are in central banking, the politics of finance and financialisation, natural resources, colonial legacies and development.

Her dissertation examined the trajectory and politics of central banking in the Global South, focusing in particular on when central banks accommodate financial accumulation by banks and nonbanks that impede broader growth and development goals. Areas of ongoing research include the pathways through which hierarchies in the international system incentivise financialisation of debt and natural resources in poor countries, the role of the state in de-risking accumulation in late capitalism, the politics of climate finance, and the impact of colonial legacies on development trajectories.

Fathimath received her PhD in political science from Indiana University Bloomington in 2021. Before starting her PhD, she worked in the NGO sector as a project manager for civic education programs. She received her BA from Williams College (MA), and her International Baccalaureate diploma from the United World College of the Atlantic. Her work has appeared in New Political Economy, the Review of African Political Economy, the Journal of Democracy and the Review of International Political Economy.

More about Fathimath Musthaq

Dharshan Wignarajah

Director of Climate Finance at Climate Policy Initiative

Dharshan Wignarajah
Dharshan Wignarajah recently joined to lead the Climate Policy Initiative’s UK team covering activity across Europe. CPI is an analysis and advisory organisation with deep expertise in finance and policy. Their mission is to help governments, businesses, and financial institutions drive economic growth while addressing climate change.

He has more than 20 years’ experience of private sector; strategy consultancy and government in climate and development finance, impact investing, clean technology and renewable energy; with an emphasis on innovation that leverages scarce public resource to catalyse private finance at scale. 

At CPI, he leads teams working on climate finance landscape work including CPI’s flagship Global Climate Finance Landscape; tracking of finance commitments; methane finance; air pollution; nature finance and initiatives such as the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance.  

He previously served in the UK Government’s Cabinet Office COP26 Unit, where he led the UK Presidency’s work on Finance and aspects of Resilience, after roles in leading international development department teams focused on private finance mobilisation. This included working closely with multilateral development banks; the UK’s development finance institution and a number of infrastructure financing platforms including the Private Infrastructure Development Group. Professional experience includes working as a strategy consultant, both independently and with McKinsey. Where he focused on pharma; energy and non-profit sectors; on a range of leadership, strategy and sustainability topics. As well as industry experience with Shell in their solar businesses.

More about Dharshan Wignarajah