Sustainability is a strategic choice at Haaga-Helia. Thus, sustainability is visible in our everyday life on many levels. Haaga-Helia has joined the Environmental Commitment of Finnish Chamber of Commerce, with educational institutions committing to carbon neutrality by the year 2030.
In addition to courses in circular economy and responsible business, we are now offering a new course called Sustainable finance. The course was planned and piloted as part of the Interreg Central Baltic funded Sustainability in Finance (SuFi) project. The course is very popular and found its way straight into a degree program.
Basics of sustainable investing
Sustainable investing is an investment discipline that considers environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to generate long-term competitive returns and positive social impact.
According to FINSIF responsible investing can be approached in a variety of ways i.e. through ESG integration, thematic investments, positive screening, negative screening, active ownership and engagement as well as impact investing. One responsible investment approach does not rule out another as the investor can combine different approaches.
Responsible investments include strategic and practical factors of investments. Investment decisions and active ownership play a key role in ESG taxonomy.
The aim of the Sustainable finance course is that students will learn the basics of Sustainable Investments. The course covers main topics of ESG criteria. Students will learn to
- describe and interpret current trends in the area of sustainable finance,
- identify different sustainable asset classes and instruments and
- compare different types of sustainable finance products.
One learning objective of this course is to teach students to critically evaluate sustainability risks and opportunities, and to demonstrate critical thinking in the field of sustainable investments practices. Students will also learn how countries benefit from growing sustainable investment opportunities and how to apply sustainable finance models and strategies to a real-life case.
Flagship for social transformation
Transition to green economy has become the essential driver to offer courses like circular economy, responsible business and now sustainable finance to students.
Most stakeholders – employees, customers, communities, and regulators – expect companies to play a decisive role in decarbonising the global economy. Climate risks are now major investment risks. Engineers and researchers work globally to decarbonise the environment. This also changes dramatically the knowledge base needed in the future. As an educational institution, we must be a flagship of this social transformation. (Larry Fink’s Annual 2022 Letter to CEOs.)
Our pedagogical choice was to implement real life assignments in the course. The students selected three mutual funds and analyzed the strategies from the point of ESG, the sustainable development goals by United Nations and the impact of investing and sustainability strategies.
External lectures from Index Helsinki, Handelsbanken, United Bankers and from Church Pension Fund participated in the course. During the lectures there has been vivid discussion of new approaches of ESG both on personal and institutional levels.
One of the best courses I’ve had the luck to study so far. I recommend it to anyone who is even slightly interested in these matters. Truly fascinating, real-life practical examples and the guests /lecturers were a great addition.student feedback
From a teacher´s point of view, our modular course structure provides new tools and ways to co-operate with different educational institutions and students with different backgrounds. The course could function as the basis of more comprehensive implementations focusing on key competences of our university and our partner universities.
Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net zero emission world. The question to every education provider is, will we lead, or will we be led?