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After strong response from professionals, WWF-Singapore plans to bring e-courses to retail investors

Around 5,000 finance professionals have completed WWF-Singapore's courses, launched last September.

Around 5,000 finance professionals have completed the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore’s (WWF-Singapore) Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI) Academy courses, launched last September.

Now, the academy plans to double that number. In addition, the ASFI wants to target retail investors, says ASFI’s Kristina Anguelova, who took on the role of head of sustainable finance, Asia at WWF-Singapore in September.

Existing material — aimed at finance professionals — will have to be redesigned for everyday investors, she adds, and whether those courses will be administered through a website or other means remains to be decided, Anguelova tells The Edge Singapore.

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Accredited by the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), the e-learning courses are based on the latest sustainability science and designed specifically for Asia-based finance professionals, says WWF-Singapore in an Oct 13 press release.

The seven core courses launched cover responsible banking, responsible investment, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and sustainable infrastructure. WWF-Singapore says it will launch new courses on nature and biodiversity next year.

The non-profit organisation unveiled its plans and focus areas for 2023 on Oct 13. Speaking to the media, Anguelova says WWF-Singapore has three separate teams examining data from Singapore’s banks, asset managers and central bank. WWF-Singapore then takes a consultative approach to these players.

“There’s a disconnect… in incorporating ESG into financial decision making. We’re working towards breaking that down with ESG and sustainable finance. How are ESG decisions being implemented in decision-making? There’s a huge deal of education that goes into all of this.”

Four themes, nine programmes

WWF-Singapore categorises its plans for the year ahead into four silos: climate, sustainability and circular economy, nature and biodiversity, and closer to home.

These four themes contain nine focus areas for the non-profit, which hires some 100 staff here. They are: net zero carbon, sustainable finance, sustainable palm oil, circular economy, illegal wildlife trade, marine conservation, forest landscape restoration, future sustainability leaders and green cities.

A survey of 600 Singaporeans by WWF-Singapore and Intuit Research found that the top five concerns among residents here are the circular economy, food security, use of renewable energy, protecting the coastal and marine environment and developing innovative solutions.

Meanwhile, WWF-Singapore’s flagship Earth Hour movement saw record-breaking participation this year from businesses, trade associations and chambers, communities and individuals, with over 1,000 switching off — tenfold the participation in 2007.

Next February, WWF-Singapore will launch an Earth Hour Summit along with trade associations and chambers of commerce, says chief marketing officer Vivek Kumar.

WWF-Singapore’s CEO, R Raghunathan, says: “As custodians of our planet’s well-being, we recognise that citizens’ expectations are changing and a plethora of environmental issues now take precedence. We have taken these beliefs of Singaporeans into consideration and created a strategic overview of WWF-Singapore’s interventions — one that creates a clear proposition for a variety of stakeholders to be engaged and be active for our planet’s future.”

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