The path to Sustainable Trading: Paris in the springtime at TradeTech 2022

By Duncan Higgins, Founder and Director, Sustainable Trading

Since our last blog, it would be fair to say that a LOT has been going on at Sustainable Trading. From our successful launch in late February, we have been spinning many plates: From spreading the word at industry events (including FIX Europe, the Hive Fixed Income Network and most recently, TradeTech Europe); holding inaugural meetings of our newly convened E, S & G Steering Groups; growing the Sustainable Trading team; keeping our members and supporters up to date; and, last but by no means least, ‘onboarding’ 12 new members bringing us to 42 member firms…and counting!

As a change is as good as a rest, I was looking forward to spending a few days physically ‘out of office’ at the annual TradeTech Europe event in Paris, where I joined a panel discussing ESG and trading alongside fellow ST directors, Cathy Gibson and Frank Loughlin.

In my case, TradeTech began at the St Pancras Eurostar terminal, greeting old friends and making new ones. The journey to Gare du Nord continued in the same vein, discussing Sustainable Trading for much of the journey. A hotter and slower journey to the hotel left just enough time to drop my bag and get straight back out to join new member Cboe at their drinks event before moving on to the delightfully idiosyncratic ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ venue for our own Sustainable Trading reception.

As it turned out, what had been anticipated as a casual ‘drop by if you’re passing’ invitation became quite the occasion, with around 100 guests at one point thronging the bar to enjoy some excellent Parisian (not Churchillian) hospitality. Rumour has it that our ‘do’ was THE place to be. I don’t know about that, but its popularity and the huge amount of engagement with me and other Sustainable Trading members during the evening was incredibly gratifying. A huge thank you to everybody that joined us on the night.

We are most grateful to our event sponsors, big xyt, Equinix and Instinet, for contributing to the enormous success of the evening and to The Realization Group, our Marcomms team, for organising and managing the event. The Sir Winston team are also to be commended for their charming accommodation of our ever-increasing and changing requirements on the night!

So, on to TradeTech Europe itself.  The first day started inauspiciously when I managed to get lost running in the Bois de Bologne – all of the paths there look incredibly alike! Then, from entering the Palais du Congres venue to the end of the first day’s proceedings, I spent my time broadening my network and speaking about Sustainable Trading. My apologies if I didn’t get to you, so many people and not enough time to get around to see everyone!

On Day Two, in between continued conversations about what we’re doing at Sustainable Trading, I joined a keynote discussion panel to explore how best to prepare trading strategies and technologies to meet increasing ESG requirements. My key takeaway from the panel was that while the trading industry is at the start of its ESG journey, 80% of the audience saw that it is important for the industry to get to grips with ESG change.

The shift to ESG and sustainable investments has been significant and continues to grow. With those investments being implemented through the trading industry we need to ensure we respond to that shift.

By looking at trading through an environmental lens, we can be thinking about how we can be less wasteful; how we can be more careful with our resource use – whether equipment, electricity, or travel choices. From a social perspective, as well as a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and employee wellbeing, we can also consider the impact we have in – and what more we could be doing to benefit – the local communities in which we operate.

If these ideas resonate, speak to us about joining Sustainable Trading and contributing your skills – and the skills of others in your organisation to this important initiative. This is an opportunity to share ESG knowledge and insight with the broader members of Sustainable Trading and create a bigger positive impact than firms can achieve when acting independently.