Guest lecture by Rabobank: How the finance industry can mitigate climate change

Guest lecture by Rabobank: How the finance industry can mitigate climate change

The ways in which the financial sector – and Dutch co-operative bank Rabobank specifically – interacts with sustainability issues in the global food industry was outlined by Marjan van Riel, Rabobank’s Senior Business Strategist on Food and Agriculture on 7 March 2017. The presentation was part of the Sustainability course.

Student Daan van Egmond reported his impressions of the presentation: “It provided us with context to understand the challenges, but also the opportunities, that the global food industry is facing. The world’s demand for food keeps increasing, whereas resources remain scarce. Moreover, the impact of agriculture and food processing on the environment must be mitigated.”

In short, said Daan, the food industry needs to produce more with less. The presentation highlighted where companies and individuals can make a difference, and demonstrated Rabobank’s role in the financial sector. By providing access to finance, knowledge and networks, financial companies are well-positioned to help companies across the world address this problem, by tapping into unrealised potential across the value chain, Daan explained.

“Throughout the elective, we were challenged to apply our financial knowledge and skills to these issues. In finance, as in other sectors, the issue of sustainability is hot because the effects of climate change are noticeable throughout society, and its impact will only increase. Finance deals with money and not so much with physical products, so it has a powerful position from which to catalyse change and address issues – because sustainability as a concept might be still unclear to some people.

“On the surface this might seem an issue for environmental scientists and politicians, but the financial sector is most definitely directly involved and directly affected. Moreover, the sector can play an extremely important role through its ability to allocate funding and mitigate risk.

“This presentation, and the course as a whole, provided us with a perspective on the effects of actions in the financial sector on society as whole, and how the financial sector can use its unique capabilities to increase the quality of life for current and future generations.”