You think climate change is bad? What comes after will be even worse.

Sasja Beslik
2 min readJul 21, 2020


In March, right before COVID-19 hit us, I gave a speech at the Iceland Business Forum 2020 conference in Reykjavík.

In my speech, I tried to share some of the lessons I’ve learned from traveling the world the past 20 years to meet businesses and communities.

Travels made to understand 1) how the financial industry can invest in sustainable businesses to contribute to a sustainable development, and 2) what the true impact of sustainability is on the billions of people around the world (that we invest in every day).

My main point in the speech was that our current economic model is simply not fit for the future. It’s too short-sighted. We are facing some enormous challenges with regards not only to climate change, but also to just transition and big demographic changes. And we simply won’t be able to solve these issues if we don’t rebalance our economic model and take externalities better into account.

The good news is that this time the financial industry can actually help us. Another lesson I’ve learned is that financial industry has this powerful engine that is very often misused, but can also be used for good. If used properly, it can do fantastic things.

As I also pointed out here, the financial industry can move capital from where it is regarded as not sustainable towards where it is sustainable.

As such, the finance industry is the key for transformation to a sustainable future.

The problem is that the finance industry is not truly working in this direction yet. It has started, but the volume is very limited.

I hope you will watch my speech, and that it will prove valuable to you.

The journey has only just begun. There’s much, much more to be done. And remember, after the clouds of climate change comes the storm of just transition.



Sasja Beslik

MD, Head of Sustainable Finance Dev. at J. Safra Sarasin, the world’s leading private bank on sustainable finance. Author of “Guld och gröna skogar” (2019).