About the FSI

What is the Finance and Sustainability Initiative (FSI)?

Based in Montreal, Quebec, the Finance and Sustainability Initiative (FSI) is a non-profit organization that brings together finance professionals dedicated to promoting sustainable finance and, more specifically, responsible investment to financial institutions, companies, and universities.

Responsible investment is not a revolution but rather an evolution in how to analyze, select, and manage investments by integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in order to achieve better long-term returns, contribute to the sustainability of companies and financial markets, and promote a more stable and inclusive world economy. Today, responsible investment is emerging as a best practice in the field of finance.

The FSI also represents an evolution in the promotion of responsible investment and sustainable development through education, professional development, and support of pragmatic university research projects that effectively meet the needs of financial institutions and companies seeking to integrate ESG criteria into their strategies and business models. The FSI thereby helps to connect the theory and practice of sustainable finance.

Vision

Our vision is a world where investment decisions are always made with responsible investment in mind in order to promote sustainable development.

Mission

Our mission is to facilitate the evolution of financial institutions’ “traditional” investment practices by integrating ESG criteria into investment analysis, selection, and management, all with a view to sustainable development.

Values

Collaboration
The FSI adopts a collaborative approach to reach its objectives based on dialogue, exchange, and partnership with its stakeholders.

Education
The FSI promotes education to raise its stakeholders’ awareness about the importance and benefits of responsible investment and sustainable development.

Responsibility
The FSI operates with an awareness of our responsibility toward future generations.

Commitments

In pursuing its mission, the FSI has identified four main stakeholders: financial institutions, companies, universities, and regulatory bodies. Our commitments to each of these stakeholders are as follows:

  • Financial institutions
    Educate, inform, and equip financial institutions to integrate responsible investment and sustainable finance practices.
  • Companies
    Educate, inform, and equip companies to adopt a sustainable business model and integrate information on ESG issues into their corporate reporting.
  • Universities
    Promote integrated, multidisciplinary, and holistic research and teaching regarding sustainable finance and, more specifically, responsible investment.
  • Regulatory bodies
    Promote policies that foster the adoption of responsible investment and sustainable development practices.

Our approach

Scope of activities

The Finance and Sustainability Initiative has chosen a collaborative approach, centered on education, professional development, university research, and partnerships.

  • Education
    • Raise awareness among investors, university students, and company executives of the principles of responsible investment and sustainable development.
  • Professional development
    • Create professional development tools for responsible investment.
  • University research
    • Encourage university research on sustainable finance and specifically on the link between the integration of ESG criteria and risk management, return fluctuations and the impact of measures taken by companies to address ESG issues.
  • Partnerships
    • Provide a platform for dialogue and the development of a common language to foster the convergence of responsible investment and sustainable development.
    • Facilitate collaboration between the research, education, and finance communities in order to develop pragmatic approaches that effectively meet investment professionals’ needs.
    • Create partnerships with other organizations that share the same vision and pursue similar objectives.

Activities

EDUCATION

FSI Award for Best Sustainable Development Report
This annual competition launched in the spring of 2013 aims to promote excellence in sustainable development reporting among Canadian companies. It is conducted in collaboration with university students, who determine their own evaluation criteria for specific industry sectors. The awards for best sustainable development report for each sector are announced during a luncheon-conference.

Click here to find out more about the FSI Award for Best Sustainable Development Report.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Sustainable Investment Professional Certification (SIPC)
The FSI is the originator of this online certification program, which was launched in the fall of 2011 and is administered by the John Molson Executive Centre at Concordia University. SIPC is made up of five online courses. Each consists of online lectures, readings, training sessions and case-study assignments. They’re designed to provide with context and help you understand concepts of environmental, social, financial and ethical sustainability in real-world settings. The program must be completed over a 12-month period and corresponds to approximately 80 hours of study. Registration is every 2nd and 15th of each month. The program content is offered in English and qualifies for continuing education credits with the CFA Institute. The admission requirements are to have at least one year of work experience, an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline and a keen desire to learn and implement sustainability programs.

Click here to find out more about the Sustainable Investment Professional Certification program.

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH

FSI-PRI Competition and Scholarship for Best Research on Responsible Investment
The aim of this annual competition, which launched in the fall of 2014, is to recognize the best Quebec-based research on responsible investment. Every Fall, a scholarship is awarded to the student who submits the best graduate-level research paper (masters or doctorate).

Click here to find out more about the FSI-PRI Scholarship for Best Research on Responsible Investment.

COLLABORATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS

The FSI is proud to join forces with renowned organizations in achieving its mission to encourage financial institutions to evolve their “traditional” investment practices by integrating ESG criteria into investment analysis, selection, and management, all with a view to sustainable development. The FSI’s commitments and initiatives have rapidly attracted the support of some of Montreal’s largest financial institutions.

The FSI offers several sponsorship, collaboration, and partnership options to organizations that share the same vision and pursue similar objectives. For more information about collaboration and partnership opportunities with the FSI or about sponsoring its activities, contact us at info@ifd-fsi.org.

History

History

Created in January 2010, the Finance and Sustainability Initiative was born of its members’ desire to have ESG criteria integrated into investment best practices. The FSI brings together over 100 members of the financial, university, and business communities. Through its commitment and initiative, the organization has rapidly attracted the support of some of Montreal’s largest financial institutions.

Reasons for its creation

The Finance and Sustainability Initiative addresses key societal issues. Rapid demographic and economic growth on a global scale have resulted in the unbridled consumption of finite natural resources and a development that may impair future generations’ ability to meet their own needs. The resulting environmental, social, and governance challenges represent not only risks but also opportunities that companies must manage to ensure their sustainability and that financial institutions must assess to optimize the long-term value of their portfolios. These challenges create the need for comprehensive and standardized measurement, assessment, and communication tools, for financial intermediaries as well as businesses. Sustainable finance and, more specifically, responsible investment are born of the need to overcome the disconnect between corporate responsibility and the allocation of capital, essentially by modifying the behaviour of financial markets so that ESG criteria are integrated into investment decisions.