“Old dogs need to learn new tricks,” according to Dr Matthew Kiernan, CEO of Inflection Point Capital Management (Canada).

Kiernan opened the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia’s (RIAA) 7th International Responsible Investment Conference in Sydney yesterday by claiming that investment companies need to adopt a sustainable investing approach if they want to survive.

“SAI, Strategically Aware Investing, is simply commonsensical,” Kiernan said.

“The logic of sustainable investment should be recognisable to a 10-year-old child.

“This 21st century investment discipline needs to be applied to all asset classes.”

The implications of neglecting ESG issues were addressed in eight case studies from around the world that illustrated a risky financial future as a consequence.

The case studies also revealed that genuine social change can sit comfortably alongside strong financial returns.

“But the prevalent view is that its a sure way to lose money,” Kiernan says.

International speaker Professor Ruyin Hu, head of research for Shanghai Stock Exchange, said the way to increase awareness of responsible investment issues is to improve investor education, and encourage more sustainable investment.

The two-day conference aims to address issues that are driving investors in 2010, identify emerging trends, and provide practical tools to implement responsible investment practices.

The conference will end with the launch of the RI Academy, which will provide an educational framework for ESG training to integrate into existing practices.

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