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Conference on ‘sustainable finance' asks: how do we measure the immeasurable?


Tiny plastic multicoloured markers on a tabletop

Delegates from banks, journals and institutes come together for conference

How do companies record ‘sustainability’ on a balance sheet? How do they reflect information to do with environmental responsibility, diversity, inclusion and a whole range of other non-monetary metrics, in their annual reports?

Some answers may come from the first Virtual International Conference on Sustainable Finance, Economics and Accounting - hosted by the University of Bradford and India-based IIM Jammu (Indian Institute of Management Jammu) on Friday and Saturday (July 30-31).

The two-day summit will bring together delegates from institutions such as Bank of America, the British Journal of Management, universities and other bodies.

Digital age

Academics will present close to 100 research papers, with titles such as Banking in the Digital Age, Impact of Economic Growth on Carbon Emission, and A Study on Inclusion of Women in Economy & Trade, together with others which look at gold investment, crowdfunding, corporate/social responsibility. 

Prof Douglas Cumming, joint editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Management will present one session entitled: Death, Destruction, and Manipulation.

It is the second joint conference with IIM Jammu - the first looked at circular economy - and will examine accountancy and finance practices in the pre and post-pandemic world.

Professor Vishanth Weerakkody, Dean of the Faculty of Management, Law & Society Sciences, said: “We’re very proud to be able to deliver this event in partnership with IIM Jammu and to develop our relationship with them.

“This is the second time we have brought experts together from a specific sector, so it’s important in terms of creating a platform where new ideas can be discussed. Additionally, the pandemic has had a major effect on all walks of life, so part of the agenda will involve looking at sustainability before and after the pandemic.”

Finding answers

Prof Sankar Sivarajah, Head of the University’s School of Management and professor of circular economies, said: “We hope these discussions will ultimately lead to solutions for businesses and industry bodies, such as regulators, as they adapt to the new agendas related to things like environmental, corporate and social responsibility and how we all operate in the digital age.

“Initiatives which boost the environmental or equality credentials of any business will have an immeasurable effect in terms of improving morale or the company’s reputation but may not necessarily be recorded on the balance sheet - this is about looking at ways to change that.”