London Climate Action Week: Spotlight on Female Leaders in the City

Q&A with Stephanie Maier, Director - Responsible Investment Specialist, HSBC Global Asset Management.

To celebrate the 1st London Climate Action Week, CDSB is profiling a select number of female leaders in the City who we consider to be at the forefront of taking action on climate change and related issues. In this Q&A we sit down with Stephanie Maier, Director - Responsible Investment Specialist, HSBC Global Asset Management. 

1. What inspired you to embrace climate change in your current role? What advice would you give to those looking to pursue a similar path in their organisation?

Climate change is the fundamental, systemic challenge of our time. Addressing climate change is pivotal to creating better outcomes for our society, environment and economy. Working in finance and investment, we have the ability to transform our world – for better, or worse. How we invest and what we invest in matters. Being part of this change is daunting but inspiring. 

For those looking to pursue a similar path, I would focus on the opportunities. Leadership is often a leap of faith, you need to find the right language and actions to engage and enthuse.   

2. Why are climate and ESG factors so important for those working in your sector today?

They are integral for many reasons, including making better long term investment decisions for end beneficiaries and, mobilising or redirecting capital to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. We have recently seen a step-change in financial policy makers, regulators and market actors to support this shift. 

3. If you were in charge of London for a week, what climate friendly policy would you put in place?

Either something tangible and visible such as fitting all the electric vehicle charging infrastructure necessary for London to go fully EV. It would help leapfrog a roll out that is otherwise likely to take years, and break down one of the barriers to greater take-up. Or an education programme – delivered in schools, universities and all work places – covering climate change, the SDGs, and what we as individuals can do in our own lives and careers to address sustainability challenges in concrete ways. This includes how we invest our pensions and savings.

4. What do you consider to be your biggest achievement to date?

Many of what I would consider my greatest achievements, such as developing Aviva’s climate change strategy in 2015 (in the Summer before the Paris Climate Agreement) were innovative and unusual at the time but would now be considered common place. That’s a good thing! Increasingly the really meaningful achievements are founded on collaboration, such as the work with the HSBC Global Asset Management investment teams low carbon transition scenarios or externally, such as working with development finance institutions on the HSBC Global Asset Management Real Economy Green Investment Opportunity (REGIO) Fund or the global investor engagement initiative ClimateAction100+.

Read more interviews with Female Leaders in the City.