The future of green growth and women in finance

  ROME –The women in Green Growth Webinar saw women entrepreneurs from Italy and Britain agree that collaboration between various industries and between men and women is crucial in paving a way towards a greener future. Paule Ansoleaga Abascal emphasised that the social and economic model we live in is not sustainable, and while women contributed very little to the problem they must contribute to the solution.

  The event took place on Wednesday and was organised by the British Embassy in Italy and STEAMiamoci, a project to increase gender diversity in STEM.  It formed part of the ‘Women in…’ series, promoted by Jill Morris, as well as the All4Climate campaign promoted by the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition.

  The webinar began with greetings from ambassador Jill Morris and STEAMiamoci project leader Anna Carmassi followed by two enlightening discussions moderated by journalist Silvia Sacchi.

  The first part of the webinar discussed women entrepreneurs and how they are contributing to the green economy. This included a series of speeches from women entrepreneurs Barbara Amerio (Permare Group), Cristiana Talon (GS4C), Gabriella Pasi (University of Milan-Bicocca), and Alessandra Lucini Paioni (PhD research scientist). They each described their experiences as women in various male-dominated industries, from boating to education and chemistry, and how they overcame the challenges this presented.

  Cristiana Talon and Barbara Amerio noted that the nautical sector can be outdated in terms of materials and technology, but these women are working on innovating the industry to make it more sustainable. Cristina commented that the boating industry is “not so open to women, but together with Barbara we are breaking down this wall and thus we are opening a gateway for all the new female skills in the nautical sector.” 

  Gabriella Pasi, vice rector for International Relations at University of Milan-Bicocca, outlined the initiatives that the university is taking part in to support women in green growth. One of these initiatives included the project ‘weTree’ which aims to implement green areas in Italian cities and name them after women who have distinguished themselves through their actions towards a better society.

  PhD student Alessandra Lucini Paioni also shared her insights on the role of women in the scientific research field, “there are always less barriers for boys who want to go into science [...] but simply starting to put scientific discoveries that have been historically made by women into textbooks is already helping to change mentalities.”.  

  The second part of the webinar discussed the role of women in green finance. This included speeches from a variety of successful women in finance, including Emma Harvey (Green Finance Institute), Anna Lambiase (V-Finance), Paule Ansoleaga Abascal (BCCI Inclusive Finance) Sharon Lewis (Hogan Lovells), and Alessandra Franzosi (Borsa Italiana). They each discussed the importance of ensuring the finance industry has environmentally positive impacts as well as the key involvement of women in finding green solutions. 

  Emma Harvey, Programme Director at Green Finance Institute, identified two lenses of viewing Green Finance: greening finance and financing green. Greening finance involves financial institutions managing risks, reporting and disclosing their environmental impact. Financing green, however, involves directing money towards positive environmental outcomes. The Green Finance Institute is working on this by bringing together global experts in all sectors to both identify the barriers in investment into decarbonising the economy as well as designing products to overcome these barriers.

  Paule Ansoleaga Abascal, councillor and member of the Executive Committee at the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy, emphasised the need to “redesign the role of capital in society, helping to build a future where investors look at 3 dimensions: risk, return, and social and environmental impact.” This future for green finance is something which requires women’s involvement; Paule and Sharon Lewis both agreed that women are particularly strong at risk management which is a crucial part of managing the environmental impacts of finance. 

  Anna Lambiase assured that we are seeing a growth in both the number of women in leading roles in finance, as well as in the finance industry’s attention to sustainability. But the key is to build dialogue around this; Alessandra Franzosi emphasised we need to “allow opportunities for dialogue primarily between companies and investors” and discussions like this webinar are great ways to start the conversation. 


Janae Byrne