Lecture by Mr. Tomomitsu Victor Maruta, a sustainability funding associate officer at the European Investment Bank

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Lecture by Mr. Tomomitsu Victor Maruta, a sustainability funding associate officer at the European Investment Bank

SDGs Course Taught by Visiting Lecturers

Mr. Tomomitsu Victor Maruta, a sustainability funding associate officer at the European Investment Bank, delivered a lecture on a personal capacity to students from the International Business Studies Program and undergraduate students from the Faculty of Economics on 27 May.

This lecture, “An introduction to sustainable finance-promises and ambiguities”, highlighted the rising demand for various sustainable finance products as well as the major obstacle to further growth: lack of clarity in the definition of sustainable finance.
As way of introduction, Maruta recalled the guidelines of Soka University’s faculty of economics: a nexus between global environmental and social issues, economics as a pragmatic tool and the importance of combining cool heads with warm hearts.

Students discovered the history of sustainable finance, notably the recent exponential growth of the green and social bonds’ markets. They learnt more about the features of the main sustainable finance products. Maruta also presented the variety of public and private market participants across geographies from the supply-side and the demand-side.

He depicted the main issue of sustainable finance which is the lack of clarity, highlighting operational challenges at stake with various aspects e.g. SDGs, transition finance, ESG ratings, blue finance, impact reporting. The lecture addressed all the SDGs by covering both environmental and social aspects and highlighting the operational challenges of considering SDGs as financing tools.

A blurry picture is room for misunderstandings, greenwashing, and multiple risks (reputation, litigation, market). Lack of comparability hampers market efficiency. Maruta pointed to emerging improvements – notably from the European Union – involving international cooperation at the level of the International Platform on Sustainable Finance and the G20.

The lecture featured concrete examples and spontaneous interventions from the audience. Such hands-on interactive approach helped the students understand the relevance of sustainable finance and stimulated their curiosity.

The excerpts of comments from the student attendees are as follows.

  • Nitin Kant
Dear IBSP faculty, thank you for conducting an excellent lecture on sustainable finance on an international level; since I am writing my research paper on ESG investments, this lecture was beneficial for me better understand the sustainable financial bonds and their requirements, the problems being faced by experts, and how we can enhance the quality of investments in sustainable finance, this lecture has helped me to improve my research paper content.
And I am looking forward to more such lectures.
  • Lu Tinghuan
Maruta san’s lecture broadened my horizon in the field of finance, especially through the different perspectives on understanding green bonds. First, he answered my question about why different third-party agencies come up with their own different ESG rating scores. Second, even though different evaluative standards of judging policy will confuse the investor in making further investments, pension funds nevertheless continue to lead the investments in this area and even approach other investors together to do so. This takes into consideration our environmental, social and corporate governance factors. Lastly, although it is an excellent business to profit in green bond investments, we should still take greater care of our Earth’s health ahead of making profits.
  • Gautam Wadhwa
I would like to thank Mr. Maruta for taking time out of his busy schedule and sharing his knowledge with us. It certainly helped me to learn about sustainable finance since I had little to no knowledge about it.
  • Goh Lee Xin
Appreciation to the faculty member for the effort in organizing this special lecture. The world of the economy is so broad that new concepts are birthed over time. It was my first time hearing about Sustainable Finance and was impressed by how they relate sustainable development to how it affects the performance of the finance of the organizations. Even though I am not familiar with such concept, I certainly learned something new. Besides, I am impressed with what Mr. Maruta is doing at European Investment Bank. I looked forward to the application of such a concept in the business world.
  • Cheah Yu Ern (SUCCEED)
Thank you Mr. Maruta for his precious time sharing his expertise and experience during this special lecture. I appreciate and admire what Mr. Maruta is doing in his role at European Investment Bank.
This area would grow soon, and it will prosper, and grow incredibly vital for the stability of human wellbeing. Persistence in the area is much appreciated. Mr. Maruta has aspired me to follow this path and explore it more profoundly in this field. I would like to post a question to Mr. Maruta, does the credibility system really work to distinguish between the green companies and “black companies”, and how could we strengthen the system to increase its reliability?