RFI Foundation announces new initiative to bring transparency and accountability to responsible finance commitments

A new partnership between the financial industry and civil society aims to rebuild trust and enable responsible finance initiatives to work better using blockchain technology

London, UK, November 13, 2018 – The Responsible Finance & Investment Foundation (RFI) publicly announced the creation of the CDIT Initiative with 24 signatories upon its announcement to improve transparency and accountability in the responsible finance industry.  The initiative, which was launched on September 20th, during the third Value Based Investors and the SDGs conference organized by the Banco de la Nación Argentina on the sidelines of the G20, aims to bring together financial institutions and civil society to rebuild trust in the financial industry.

The CDIT Initiative (pronounced ‘Seed It’) was developed based on dialogue during a roundtable on “Blockchain for Sustainable & Inclusive Finance” held as part of the RFI Summit 2018 and hosted by Thomson Reuters.  The initiative initiated with the European Partners for the Environment (EPE), a Brussels-based environmental multi-stakeholder think tank, will be developed with the 24 signatories. 

Underpinning the rationale for the CDIT Initiative is the fact that despite massive growth in financial assets being invested sustainably – $22.89 trillion of assets as of the end of 2016 – trust in the financial system has barely risen since 2009.  According to surveys across 28 developed, emerging and developing countries by Edelman, the financial services industry only has the trust of 54% of the population compared to 48% in the immediate aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. 

The CDIT Initiative tackles two related issues facing the responsible finance industry globally in taking action to rebuild trust. First, financial institutions’ commitments in line with existing responsible finance initiatives have not translated into rebuilding trust with society because of the presence of a small number of institutions who are using the growth of responsible finance to ‘greenwash’ their image.

Second, financial institutions who have recently embraced responsible finance face large informational barriers in translating general responsible finance principles into concrete actions that have been shown to be successful.  The CDIT Initiative, a multi-stakeholder partnership between financial institutions and civil society aims to use the power of the blockchain and its ability to build trust within a decentralized network to promote greater trust between the financial sector and civil society.   

Blake Goud, CEO of RFI Foundation commented: “We must engage with all the relevant stakeholders including the financial industry, FinTech, blockchain companies and civil society, to create a more inclusive future to ensure that we leave no one behind.  Together, we can create a database with time-secured commitments and actions that can improve the effectiveness of existing sustainable & inclusive finance initiatives.

Goud continued: “This provides a real-time way to track what the financial industry has committed to, and how much these commitments are translated into action.  We hope to see the development of a shared repository of data on financial industry actions on responsible finance that is treated as a ‘public good’ to be used for the collective benefit of the financial industry and society at large.”

Raymond Van Ermen, Advisor to the President of EPE said: “There is an opportunity for the financial industry to build trust with society through partnerships with civil society organizations who can confer greater legitimacy in the eyes of society than financial institutions can on their own.  It is critical for this partnership to be nurtured in order to accelerate the transition from a shareholder- to a stakeholder-oriented model for the financial industry.”

For more information about the CDIT Initiative and to become a signatory, please visit bit.ly/JoinCDIT

List of Signatories.

Across Red Lines

Bioversity International

Blossom Finance

DVA Consulting Sdn Bhd

Eco-union

Ethis Crowd

European Partners for the Environment (EPE)

Finocracy

Fondation des transitions / Transitions Foundation

Hutton Financial Management Ltd

Immersion 4

Islamic Markets

Italian Alliance for Sustainability (AVsIS)

ixo Foundation

Kottackal

Magni Global Asset Management LLC

MENA FinTech Association

RFI Foundation

Simply Ethical

Solid

Swiss Arab Network

thirdACT

UnitedCoin

Visegrad for Sustainability (V4SDG )

About RFI Foundation

The RFI Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a mission to identify a neutral, nonpartisan and universal value proposition that encourages convergence of responsible finance practices. RFI evolves Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing (SRI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and the Islamic finance sectors towards a convergence of their shared standards, and engages stakeholders to build the responsible finance industry as a catalyst to support equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic development. Visit us at www.rfi-foundation.org

About European Partners for the Environment

EPE is a Brussels based partnership broker and a multi-stakeholder think tank. EPE has been launched after the Rio92 conference in July 1994, by a group of organisations under the leadership of Claude Fussler and the patronage of UNEP. EPE’s history proves that the organization has been - and is - visionary and the right party to foster ‘transformational collaboration’ for social and eco-innovation. Visit us at www.epe.be

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