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Exploring the Future of Sustainable Finance with AI: An Expert Group Meeting

By Branka Hadji Misheva, BFH, Christopher Newson, Unit8 and Andreas Blum, Unit8

In today’s rapidly evolving financial landscape, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and sustainability has become a crucial area of focus. Recognizing this, the DIA Expert Group in Finance and Insurance recently organized an insightful event titled “AI in Finance and Insurance: AI for Sustainable Finance.” Held at the Zurich offices of Unit8, on June 12th, 2023, the meeting brought together renowned experts from both academia and industry to shed light on the intersection of AI and sustainable finance.

The event was organized by the expert group leads: Prof. Dr. Branka Hadji Misheva from the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) and Andreas Blum who leads the Financial Services Practice at Unit8, a leading Swiss consultancy in the area of data, analytics & AI. Their vision is to leverage Switzerland’s renowned expertise in banking, finance, and AI research to address the pressing need for sustainable finance solutions. By combining academic insights and industry perspectives, the organizers aimed to explore how recent technological advancements could assist financial institutions and investors in comprehending, evaluating, and measuring environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities.

The meeting featured three distinguished speakers who captivated the audience with thought-provoking presentations:

Tatyana Gerber, the Head of ESG Data Strategy, Global Sustainability at Credit Suisse, shared valuable insights on “How data & analytics can enable more powerful ESG reporting.” With her vast industry experience, she shed light on how leveraging data and analytics can enhance the quality and impact of ESG reporting, enabling organizations to make informed decisions aligned with sustainability goals.

Next, the meeting featured a talk by Prof. Dr. Christian Hopp, Head of the Institute for Applied Data Science and Finance at BFH. Prof. Dr. Hopp enlightened the attendees by emphasizing the significance of collaboration efforts between academia and industry in reshaping finance to generate positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes.

Finally, Prof. Dr. David Risi, a Professor for Responsible Management at BFH, delivered an engaging presentation titled “Unpacking the Internal Dynamics of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Implementation.” His talk delved into the complexities of implementing CSR practices within organizations and explored how AI can support businesses in effectively integrating sustainability into their operations.

Following the enlightening talks, all participants engaged in an open and enriching discussion. The event fostered a collaborative environment, allowing attendees to exchange ideas, share their perspectives, and learn from one another. This interactive session further enhanced the overall learning experience, paving the way for potential collaborations and partnerships in the field of sustainable finance and AI.

The Expert Group Meeting on AI in Finance and Insurance: AI for Sustainable Finance hosted by Prof. Dr. Branka Hadji Misheva and Andreas Blum successfully brought together leading experts to explore the integration of AI and sustainable finance. By providing a platform for academia and industry professionals to exchange knowledge and insights, the event contributed to advancing the understanding of how AI can be harnessed to address ESG risks and opportunities. The organizers’ commitment to creating a collaborative environment and the diverse range of topics covered by the keynote speakers ensured a stimulating and impactful gathering. The event not only highlighted Switzerland’s leadership in the fields of banking, finance, and AI research but also showcased the potential for utilizing AI to drive positive change in the realm of sustainable finance.