mature businessman thinking at desk in office

Your clients shouldn’t make emotional investment decisions — and it’s your job as an advisor to remind them of that.

But, with climate change now firmly established as a mainstream issue that dominated the recent federal election, could it be time for investors — and advisors — to rethink their approach?

“In the investment industry, we talk about not investing with emotion: be disciplined, stick to your guns,” said Dustyn Lanz, CEO of the Responsible Investment Association at the launch of the Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF) in Toronto Tuesday night.

“But when it comes to the climate crisis and the livelihoods of ourselves, our children and our future generations, I think it’s time that we start investing with some emotion — to start investing like we give a damn.”

The ISF’s mandate is “to align mainstream financial markets with Canada’s transition to a prosperous sustainable economy,” according to a release. To that end, the ISF announced the launch of the Canadian Sustainable Finance Network (CSFN) on Tuesday.

The CSFN — described as a “diverse alliance of academics, researchers and educators” — includes 44 members from 16 universities. Its mission: to serve as a “collaboration platform for academia, industry and government to move sustainable finance forward in Canada.”

Sean Cleary, BMO professor of finance at the Smith School of Business and executive director of the ISF, said he believes sustainable finance can be the “common ground” for tackling the climate crisis.

“[The ISF is] the first-ever cross-cutting collaborative hub in Canada focusing on bringing together the academic sector, the private sector and the public sector to foster growth in the field of sustainable finance,” Cleary said.

In addition to launching the CSFN, the ISF will offer various education initiatives for business professionals, beginning with a three-day program on sustainable investing that will take place in Toronto in April 2020.

“We’re coming to learn that the economic ambitions of the country and the environmental ambitions of the country are entwined,” said Andy Chisholm, a member of RBC’s board of directors, Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance and the ISF’s advisory board.

“Sustainable finance is really just finance — finance modernized to deal with these new, unprecedented realities,” Chisholm added.