Looking back at the FIR Annual Conference 2023

On Wednesday, 18 October 2023, the traditional FIR Annual Conference took place at the Prague University of Economics and Business, this year on the topic Sustainability in Finance: how to achieve decarbonisation?

In a two-panel moderated discussion, Czech and international experts shared their views on the topic of decarbonisation, which the EU is heading towards by 2050. Linda Zeilina-Cross, Martin Špolc and Ota Melcher took part in the first part. Hélène Lanier, Raúl García Rodriguéz and Richard Juřík were invited to take part in the second panel of the debate.

The conference was opened with a speech by the Dean of FIR, doc. Ing. Josef Taušer, Ph.D., who then handed over the floor to the moderator of the first panel, Vice Dean for Study Affairs, Mgr. Ing. Daniel Houska, Ph.D. After the introduction of the guests, Martin Špolc started the discussion with the topic of Transition Finance, who appealed to the importance of transparency not only in the financial sector. He also shared the information that from the EU side all legislative steps are already over and now it is up to the private sector. Linda continued with her perspective on the importance that the much talked about words “sustainability” and “ESG” represent nowadays. She also pointed out the importance of taxonomy and transparency of available data in the financial sector. Ota Melcher followed up with the topic of “financial reporting”, which all panelists agreed may represent an added cost for companies, but is ultimately an investment in the future.

At the end of the first panel, conference participants could ask questions to the guests via the Slido platform. One of them was about EU regulations in the field of financial reporting: Won’t it negatively affect competitiveness in the Czech Republic and across the EU compared to third countries? Another question was directed at small and medium-sized enterprises; Linda commented that Czech companies are not proactive enough, not only in the matter of reporting, investments and sustainable finance. The last question was about when the taxonomy in agriculture will be available. Martin pointed out that it is not yet available and its further development will depend on the next commission.

The first panel ended with a short farewell to the guests who concluded their thoughts on the topics discussed. A short break for refreshments followed, after which the moderator Mgr. Jarolím Antal, Ph.D., the second panel of the discussion. It was mainly devoted to the topic of decarbonisation and was entitled “Decarbonisation: public finance and private finance”. The debate was opened by Richard Juřík, who introduced the audience to the context of the Czech Republic and its current position on decarbonisation within the framework of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). He outlined that the Czech Republic is now facing many challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve the targets set by the Union. He pointed out, for example, the level of investment and appealed to the private sector to seize investment projects and opportunities. The debate also touched on central heating, where significant investment will be needed.

You can watch the whole conference in the video below.

Thank you to everyone involved – guests, attendees, and online listeners – for their inspiring comments, questions, and opinions.

Watch a recording of the FIR Annual Conference 2023, this year on Sustainability in Finance: How to make decarbonisation happen?

Looking back at the FIR Annual Conference 2023