New FC4S Report identifies Sustainable Finance catalysts to fund the 2030 agenda

New York, 29 April 2020 –The International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability’s (FC4S) latest report maps out and analyses the complex array of relationships of sustainable finance partnerships while highlighting how the sustainable finance ecosystem can better work together to achieve the global development goals of the next decade. The report, which is the result of a collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Inquiry, FC4S and the United Nations Development Programme Finance Sector Hub (UNDP FSH) does so by identifying exactly how these networks function and the interplay between the different initiatives.

“To achieve the ambitious 2030 Agenda we will need trillions to finance it first. This report makes the case for sustainable finance to play a major role in fulfilling that agenda, and it does so by mapping and analysing the intricate relationships of sustainable finance partnerships, be they networks, pledges, coalitions, platforms or principles, to determine exactly how these networks function,” said Stephen Nolan, Managing Director, FC4S.

‘Nudging the Financial System: A network analysis approach’, focuses on efforts currently undertaken by individual countries, regional groups, multilateral development banks (MDBs), international organizations (IOs), private sector entities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The current global sustainable finance network is composed of 115 different “partnerships,” 5,181 constituent members and more than 10,000 connections. Based on network analytics, the report shows that 75% of network participants is connected to only one partnership and only 13% of the network participants is connected to three or more other partnerships. This shows that the core of the sustainable finance agenda is mainly driven by a small number of network constituents, including financial institutions, regulators and MDBs.

“Recent events have emphasized the interdependence of our economic and financial systems with nature. They showed that the decade ahead needs to be a decade of acceleration, one that drives transformative action and where the multilateral system converges to present a united front. This is no different for the sustainable finance agenda and the financial regulators and market players driving the agenda in this space,” said Marcos Mancini, Head of International Partnerships, UNEP Inquiry.

“While the work initiated by the different partnerships mapped out in this report has certainly contributed to an acceleration in the number of green finance actions and policy and regulatory measures issued, rethinking and transforming our financial system to safeguard our commons and realize opportunities for all will require to pursue a collective action agenda within the sustainable finance ecosystem,” said Marcos Neto, Director, UNDP FSH.

An increasing number of partnerships at the international, national and market-based levels have driven the overall transition towards a sustainable financial system capable of delivering a sustainable real economy. The growth of sustainable finance partnerships at these three levels between 1990 and 2019 displays an exponential trend, with a significant acceleration in the number of initiatives established from around 2009 onwards. During the first two decades, initiatives were established at a rate of approximately 1 per year, but for the 2009-2019 period, this rate increased to 7.4 per year.

This exponential growth in sustainable finance initiatives highlights the mainstreaming of the sustainable finance agenda, but problems still remain. Many financial institutions have expressed confusion about the abundance of partnerships, which in turn could be a barrier to catalyse mass adoption.

The report also highlights that, on average, both banks and asset managers were involved in more than 10 initiatives, making them more central to the network than insurance providers and asset owners. Despite having similar means, the top 20 asset managers and banks exhibit a wide deviation in the number of initiatives they are involved with. Banks have the largest spread (between 0 and 43) indicating that, while there are a few leaders frequently involved in most of the activities in the sustainable finance space, there are also some institutions with a rather nascent sustainability agenda.

One of the major conclusions to come out of the report is that given the growth in network partnerships an effort by members of a sustainable finance network to increase and broaden the coordination of their activities can help the network develop, as well as express and sustain a more coherent structure at a higher level. This would allow for increased efficiency in system-wide outcomes and help to green the financial system and mainstream sustainable finance as one the pillars to achieving the 2030 agenda.

FC4S plans huge growth in Sustainable Finance and launches Regional Programme for Africa

Geneva, 10 October, 2019 –Maintaining the momentum of the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit last month, a global network of 30 financial centres – accounting for $61.3 trillion in equity market capitalization and representing 80 percent of global equity markets – today agreed to mainstream green and sustainable finance both locally and internationally, also agreeing to set common targets by the end of 2022.

In just over two years, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-convened International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) has grown from a small movement into one that includes major financial centres from across the world.

These centres met in Geneva to set out a new strategy aiming to align their investments with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals – both of which need a major boost in funding to achieve their objectives.

At the meeting, the centres agreed to throw their full weight behind green and sustainable finance, to strengthen public-private collaboration on sustainable finance and to support coherence across markets in response to policy and regulatory developments.   Why isn’t this wording included in the events section?

They aim to agree on key, measurable common targets by the end of 2022; this consultative process will be complete by late 2019 or early 2020.

The FC4S also launched a regional work plan for Africa – the continent where sustainable finance needs are the highest, but flows of finance are lowest.

The programme will work with the five African member centres – Abdijan, Cairo, Casablanca, Lagos and Nairobi – to encourage strategic action, collaborate with peers across the continent, and facilitate engagement with major international hubs.

“The recent Climate Action Summit added new momentum to the global push for sustainability,” said Ligia Noronha, Director of UNEP’s Economy Division. “But action on climate and other environmental challenges needs financial backing. The FC4S and its members can be a major driving force for positive change by directing finance to investments that shore up our planet’s ability to support human development rather than undermine it.”

While green and sustainable finance is growing, the levels dedicated to delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals are still insufficient. The World Resources Institute estimates that USD 5.7 trillion will need to be invested annually in green infrastructure alone by 2020. However, 2018 research by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change found that climate finance had hit only USD 681 billion annually by 2016. Private sector investment is crucial to make up the shortfall.

FC4S works with the financial centres to close this gap by promoting strategic action on green and sustainable finance, expanding the pipeline of green assets and products, and helping policymakers build positive conditions for green and sustainable finance.

Financial centres generate a powerful clustering effect by concentrating a number of interlocking financial activities – banking, capital markets, investing, insurance, professional services, as well as policy and regulation. As sustainable finance accelerates across the world’s capital markets, FC4S members have recognized the strategic opportunity of their roles in this evolving space.

“The FC4S network has now reached a critical mass, and is primed to play an important role in the global sustainable finance agenda,” said Stephen Nolan, head of FC4S. “Each of our members now has the chance to build a strong, profitable future for themselves while doing what is right for people and planet.”

Martin Spolc, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA), and Morgan Despres, of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), also lent their expertise to the sessions and presented the current state of play of their work.

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the FC4S Network

The FC4S is a partnership between leading financial centres and the United Nations Environment Programme, which acts as its Convenor and Secretariat. The objective of the Network is to enable financial centres to exchange experience, drive convergence, and take action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance.

Madrid latest in flood of cities joining FC4S

Madrid, 23 July 2019 –Madrid today officially joined the International Network of Financial Centers for Sustainability (FC4S), bringing to 27 the number of financial centers joining the UN Environment Program-convened movement to put private capital behind green investments.

“With our entry to FC4S, our center is joining a thriving international sustainable finance movement, undertaken by the world’s large corporations in compliance with the Paris Agreement,” said José María Roldán, President of the Spanish Banking Association. “We want to learn from the experiences developed in other countries and implement joint initiatives that can help companies comply with climate imperatives, be more aware of the importance of respecting the environment and support the need for a fairer and more sustainable economy.”

“This announcement shows the commitment of the Spanish credit institutions with sustainable finance. Our main aim will be taking common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of sustainability and an ASG culture throughout Spanish economy ”, expressed José Maria Mendez, General Manager of the Spanish Savings and Retail Banks Association (CECA).

Madrid’s stock market capitalization is about half of the country’s GDP, demonstrating the might it can bring to bear on sustainability. According to the Green Bond Market in Europe report from 2018, Madrid’s cumulative green bond issuance from 2014 to the first quarter of 2018 was EUR 9.8 billion. Over half of this volume came in 2017 alone.
Madrid is the ninth ranked financial center in the EU, according to the Global Financial Center Index, but in 2018 it improved its position – posting the second-highest rise in Europe and the sixth highest in the world.

The Spanish city will be represented by the Center for Responsible and Sustainable Finance in Spain (FINRESP) – a joint initiative of the main associations of the Spanish financial sector: banks, insurance companies and investment funds. FINRESP’s main goal is to promote the necessary financing to achieve the sustainable development of the Spanish economy, with a special focus on SMEs.

“On behalf of the Spanish insurance industry, I would like to welcome the decision of FINRESP to join FC4S,” said Pilar González de Frutos, President of the Spanish Association of Insurers and Reinsurers (UNESPA). “We consider it an excellent opportunity for the insurance business to contribute to facing the risks and opportunities associated with environmental, social and governance issues.”

Moreover Angel Martínez-Aldama, President of the Spanish Investment Funds and Pension Funds Association remarks that “sustainable finance is a driver not only for the asset management industry, but for the financial community. We need to trigger this trend.”

Beijing, Cairo, Lagos and Tokyo have all recently joined FC4S in a surge of support for sustainable finance in line with growing global awareness of the urgent environmental challenges the planet faces.

“Major Spanish banks and the Spanish Banking Association have already pledged their support for the Principles of Responsible Banking, but this move to join FC4S demonstrates even stronger will to back the transition to a green economy,” said Stephen Nolan, head of FC4S. “I am hugely encouraged by the groundswell of global support for sustainability we are seeing from the private sector this year, and believe that we are on the verge of something truly transformational.”

Momentum for Sustainable Finance grows as Cairo joins FC4S

Cairo, 27 June 2019 –Cairo today became the latest member to join the International Network of Financial Centers for Sustainability (FC4S), a UN Environment Program-convened movement of financial centers committed to ensuring that sufficient private capital is directed at climate-friendly and green investments.

Cairo is the 26th member of FC4S and the fourth major new financial center to join in the last month, following Beijing, Lagos and Tokyo in a surge of support for sustainable finance.

“Similar to other countries across the globe, climate change has direct and indirect economic, social and environmental risks to Egypt’s path to development and can be a threat to current efforts of economic reform,” said Mohammed Omran, Chair of Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority, the single regulator that has oversight on non-bank financial services such as the nation’s stock exchange and capital market activities, insurance and private pension funds, mortgage, leasing, factoring and micro finance.

“It is therefore in the best interests of all Egyptian stakeholders – policy makers and investors alike – to invest in a low-carbon and sustainable future,” he added. “Cairo’s entry into the ranks of financial centers is an important step in ensuring a sustainable future for our country and in contributing to a gradual transition of our economy to a green and circular model.”

The city is the key financial center in Egypt and regionally. The Egyptian stock exchange has long been a pioneer in sustainable finance, while Finance Minister Mohamed Maait earlier this year told Bloomberg that up to USD 500 million worth of green bonds – a first for the country – are in the works. Cairo is the second FC4S member from the Arab-speaking world, after Abu Dhabi, and the fourth member on the African continent.

“I am very excited to welcome Cairo to the FC4S fold,” said Stephen Nolan, Managing Director of FC4S. “We need to unlock trillions of dollars to finance the fundamental shift the world needs, and the inclusion of this iconic city adds welcome momentum to this quest.”

While green and sustainable finance is growing, the levels dedicated to delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals are still insufficient. For example, the World Resources Institute estimates that USD 5.7 trillion will need to be invested annually in green infrastructure by 2020. However, 2018 research by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change found that climate finance had hit only USD 681 billion annually by 2016 Private sector investment is crucial to make up the shortfall.

“In the past month, we have seen two major African cities and two major Asian cities commit to greening their financial centers,” said Satya S. Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Secretary of the UN Environment Management Group. “This is testament to the growing willingness of the private sector to shift their focus to tackling issues such as runaway climate change, biodiversity loss and planetary scale pollution.”

Tokyo joins FC4S network

Tokyo, 04 June 2019 –The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), the municipal government authority of one of the world’s largest urban areas, has officially joined the UN Environment Program convened Financial Centers for Sustainability (FC4S) Network as its 24th member.

As one of the world’s largest financial centers Tokyo hosts most major international banks, insurers, and the world’s largest institutional investor, the $ 1.5 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund. Over the past two years, the TMG has implemented a strategic process to strengthen its international financial center – and now, it is seeking to make sustainable finance a key pillar of its competitiveness.

Tokyo’s admission to the rapidly growing FC4S Network is the latest in a series of major announcements on sustainable finance in Japan over recent months. On May 27th, the Japan TCFD Consortium was launched by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of Environment (MOE), and Financial Services Agency (JFSA). JFSA is a member of the Sustainable Insurance Forum, the leadership group of insurance regulators collaborating on sustainability risks, as well as a member of Central Bank and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).

Tokyo’s admission brings the FC4S Network to 5 members in Asia, including Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Building on recent efforts, FC4S will now begin the process of developing a dedicated strategy for sustainable finance in Asia, responding to the plans and needs of member financial centers in the region under its FC4S Asia and Pacific platform.

The announcement was made by the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike at the Tokyo Dialogue on Sustainable Finance event convened by the Japan Climate Initiative and UNEP FI in Tokyo (3rdJune).

Governor Koike said, “As a leading regional and global financial center, Tokyo is mindful of the importance of the sustainable finance agenda. Not least to finance Japan’s transition to a low-carbon economy and put Japanese capital to work supporting the low-carbon transition of our region and further afield. That is why I am pleased to announce our membership of the UN Environment Program convened Financial Centers for Sustainability network. We look forward to working with like-minded financial centers to accelerate the further mainstreaming of sustainable finance activities, at home and abroad. ”

Welcoming the announcement, Satya S. Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Secretary of the UN Environment Management Group said, “We are delighted to welcome Tokyo to the FC4S family. TMG has annually issued 20 Billion Yen since 2017 in green bonds and by doing so have already shown their commitment to sustainable finance. This commitment has only been further strengthened by their joining FC4S and we are proud to partner with them. ”

Stephen Nolan, Managing Director, FC4S said, “With Tokyo on board, FC4S continues to strengthen its engagement in Asia. As both a regional and global financial center powerhouse we look forward to working closely with Tokyo on this important agenda. I thank Governor Koike for her leadership. ”

Lagos throws Financial might behind Sustainable Finance network

Lagos, 29 May 2019 –The city of Lagos today joined Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S), a UN Environment Programme-convened international network that seeks to shift private capital to climate friendly and green investments.

Lagos is the third African city to join the network, after Casablanca and Nairobi, and is the first in West Africa. The megacity’s stock exchanges have over 860 listed securities, valued at more than USD 360 billion.

“Huge flows of private capital are needed to deliver the green and sustainable finance needed to implement the Paris Agreement and sustainable development goals,” said Pierre Ducret, Co-chair of FC4S. “Lagos’ inclusion in the FC4S network is a major boost to these efforts.”

FC4S has grown into a global group of 24 leading financial hubs since its creation in 2017. Structured as a partnership between international financial centres and the UN Environment Programme, other members include Abu Dhabi, London and Hong Kong.

The network is in the process of setting up FC4S Africa – its third regional platform, following the launch of Asian and European platforms in 2018. FC4S Africa will provide advisory services for financial centres on sustainable finance strategies, technical assistance and outreach.

“The adverse effects of climate change globally cannot be overemphasized,” said Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor, Lagos State. “I am confident that the establishment of the Lagos Financial Centre for Sustainability will contribute significantly to Lagos State’s push to attract sustainable private capital that will complement public resources to address infrastructure and social challenges and enhance climate change mitigation.

“We support this initiative and congratulate FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange and the UN Environment Programme for championing this innovative private sector-led solution.”

The UN Environment Programme assisted Nigeria with the design and launch of a sovereign green bond in 2018, only the third such sovereign bond ever launched and the first in a developing country. This led to the UN Environment Programme working with the financial community in helping Nigeria draw up a Sustainable Finance Roadmap for Nigeria.

“Lagos joining the FC4S opens up new possibilities for Nigeria and countries in West Africa to leverage sustainable finance for social and climate impact,” said Satya S. Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Secretary of the UN Environment Management Group. “We welcome Lagos into the fold and look forward to doing great things together.”

Luxembourg, UN Environment sign deal to accelerate Sustainable Finance

Washington D.C., 12 April 2019 –Luxembourg today signed an agreement to back a UN Environment-convened network that helps the world’s major financial centres to increase green and sustainable finance.

The International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) has 22 members from Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America – each of them committed to shifting their investments to support the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.

Home to Europe’s largest investment fund center with a 62 per cent global market share in cross-border funds, along with136 international banks from 29 countries and over 35,000 listed tradable securities, Luxembourg is today one of the world’s leading financial centers.

“A recognized European leader in green and sustainable finance, Luxembourg is stepping up its commitment to support the efforts of the International Network of Financial Centers for Sustainability,” said Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance of Luxembourg, as he signed the agreement to provide USD 500,000 in funding to FC4S. “This commitment is aimed at helping the FC4S to better connect financial centers, to foster exchange of knowledge and thus help shaping the trends and developments that will define sustainable finance in the years to come.”The levels of green and sustainable finance needed to deliver on the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development goals are still insufficient. For example, the World Resources Institute estimates that USD 5.7 trillion will need to be invested annually in green infrastructure by 2020. However, 2018 research by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change found that climate finance, while growing, had hit only USD 681 billion annually by 2016.

“Much of the resources needed to finance the transition to a low-emission, sustainable world will have to come from private sources,” said Satya S. Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and head of UN Environment’s New York office. “This is why the work of FC4S, helping financial centres to green their flows, is crucial. UN Environment is very grateful to Luxembourg for increasing its commitment to green and sustainable finance.”

Luxembourg’s commitment to financial innovation and sustainable finance has led to the launch of a wide range of initiatives, including the first Stock Exchange dedicated to green, socially responsible and sustainable securities: The Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX) in 2016.

The LGX has the largest market share of listed green bonds worldwide. Luxembourg leads the European market when it comes to responsible investment funds, with a market share of 39 per cent. 69 per cent of worldwide assets in microfinance investment vehicles are Luxembourg domiciled funds.

“Financial centres are key pressure points in the global financial system, and FC4S members like Luxembourg are pressing hard to make the system sustainable,” said Stephen Nolan, head of the FC4S network. “This contribution from Luxembourg is yet another sign that the smart money is getting behind sustainability.”

The signing took place at an event during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, at which Mr. Gramegna, John Berrigan, Deputy Director-General, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA), and Marcos Ayerra, Chair of the Inter-American Regional Committee and others looked at how to increase the role of financial centres in financing sustainability.

FC4S welcomes new member Nairobi and announces the development of a dedicated African platform

Nairobi, 14 March 2019 –Africa is responsible for only 4% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, yet 65% of the population of the continent is considered to be directly impacted by climate change.

To help change that story, the international network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S), launched at the G7 and hosted by UN Environment, on March 14th, welcomed Nairobi as its 22nd member and announced the development of a dedicated FC4S regional programme for Africa.

FC4S made the announcement during the 14th March One Planet Summit in Nairobi, a key gathering of nations and leaders to discuss climate change and its solutions, featuring French President Emmanuel Macron and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The summit included representatives of the finance and business sectors, local governments, civil society, and youth. Recognising that a dramatic acceleration in climate financing is required, it tackled two main issues: promoting renewable energy and fostering resilience, adaptation and biodiversity.

This first regional edition of the One Planet Summit focused on the unique role of Africa as a global partner facing both challenges and opportunities, and the FC4S announcement represented a significant and positive step in that process.

Launched in 2017, the international FC4S Network has grown rapidly into a global group of 22 leading hubs since its creation during Italy’s G7 Presidency. FC4S Africa is the third regional platform under development with Asian and European platforms launched in Q4 2018.
Structured as a partnership between international financial centres and the UN Environment Programme, which acts as its Convenor and Secretariat, members include London, Paris, Geneva, Dublin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Milan, Barcelona, Zurich, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Toronto, Astana and New York.

Pierre Ducret, Co-chair, UN Environment FC4S Network and Board member Finance for Tomorrow, Paris, said: “Financial centres across Africa are on a journey in developing their own sustainable finance agendas, just as they are in Europe and Asia. There is a need for a coordinated strategic effort, as well as technical assistance, to mainstream sustainable finance as a foundational element of financial centre strategies. The value of the FC4S membership is truly key, as the FC4S platform allows for lessons from more developed centres to be transferred to those who are at an earlier growth stage. I welcome Nairobi as our latest member.”

Kong Wei, Co-chair, UN Environment FC4S Network and Convener, Shanghai Lujiazui Financial City Green Finance Development Committee, said: “The UN Environment Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) has grown rapidly into a global group of 22 leading hubs since its creation during Italy’s G7 Presidency. Building on this at its general assembly meeting in Shanghai in October 2018, FC4S adopted an ambitious work programme that will drive green and sustainable finance worldwide – with a special focus on African countries, where needs for sustainable finance are highest. With a programme including a strong focus on capacity building and technical assistance, I welcome today’s announcement and our 22nd member Nairobi. Asia stands ready to support pan-African climate investment plans.”

Commenting, Mr. Albert Mwenda, Director General, Budget Fiscal & Economic Affairs/National Treasury, on behalf of Nairobi’s Nairobi International Financial Centre, said: “Green and Sustainable Finance is critical to the attainment of Kenya’s national strategic blueprint Vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda. We are delighted that the Nairobi International Financial Centre Authority has joined the FC4S Network. This demonstrates our commitment to further developing and promoting green and sustainable finance. The network provides a great opportunity to cooperate with leading financial centres in the acceleration of mainstreaming Environmental, Social and Governance issues in our financial system when mobilizing resources which is critical to the sustainable economic growth of all African countries, including Kenya.”

Commenting, Said Ibrahimi, CEO of Casablanca Finance City, said: “The rationale for focusing on Africa is plain – it is the continent where sustainable finance needs are the highest, and yet actual flows of finance the lowest. Barriers to sustainable finance in African countries are widely recognised, following from the work of the UNEP Inquiry and other institutions. As a founding member of FC4S, we warmly welcome Nairobi to the Network. This suggests that the creation of a regional FC4S hub in Africa will add very significant value.”

Once finalised, the FC4S Africa programme will consist of:

  • Advisory services for financial centres on sustainable finance strategies;
  • Capacity building and technical assistance;
  • Creating a regional FC4S platform for African financial centres; and
  • Ongoing outreach and communications.

Financial Centre action for sustainability accelerates

Paris, 13 December 2017 – As world leaders gather in Paris for the One Planet Summit, hosted by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, five new cities – Frankfurt, Geneva, Shenzhen, Toronto and Zurich – have joined the International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability.

Mobilizing the world’s financial centres will be essential to make progress on climate change and sustainable development, and the latest cities to join add momentum to this process.

Launched in Casablanca on 28 September 2017, founding members of the network include Astana, Casablanca, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris, Qatar, Shanghai and Stockholm. All have committed to harness their financial expertise to drive action on climate change and sustainable development. Financial centre leaders are gathering in Paris to outline practical ways that they can work together.

Financial centres are key locations in the economy where banking, investment and insurance markets are concentrated. This clustering of expertise and resources can also help to scale up the finance required to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

2017 has been marked by positive signs of progress. Issuance of green bonds exceeded US$100bn for the first time; the total for 2016 was US$82bn. A growing number of countries and regions are taking strategic action to promote sustainable finance, notably China, EU, Italy, Morocco and Singapore. According to a new report released today by UN Environment, Accelerating Financial Centre Action on Sustainable Development, more than 20 financial centres are now active in green and sustainable finance.

Francesco La Camera, Director General of Italy’s Ministry of Environment said: “Italy placed the role of financial centres on the agenda during its 2017 G7 presidency. We’re delighted to see the membership of this G7-inspired network expand and look forward to hosting the inaugural meeting in Milan in April 2018.

Kristina Jeromin, Head of Group Sustainability at Deutsche Börse and member of the Steering Committee of the Hub for Sustainable Finance Germany, said: “In order to drive sustainable finance forward, it is crucial to encourage a broad and profound dialogue and to pool resources. We are very much looking forward to contributing to the network with the experience gained from our Accelerating Sustainable Finance initiative, which we started within the financial community of Frankfurt this year.”

Pierre Maudet, Minister in charge of security and economic affairs at the Canton of Geneva, said: “Geneva is conscious that the world is changing and finance needs to be innovative in its response to social and environmental challenges. Only collective intelligence can accelerate the transition to sustainable finance. The Canton of Geneva supports the international initiative for a Network of Financial Centers for Sustainability.”

Chuanwei Liu, Deputy Director of Shenzhen Branch of People’s Bank of China and Deputy Secretary-General of the Shenzhen Green Finance Committee (SZ GFC) said: “With the establishment of the SZ GFC platform in June this year, which involves 12 different governmental bodies, and the announcement of its Green Finance Action Plan, Shenzhen is fully ready to kick off its green finance projects and fulfill its ambition to work with international green finance centres.”

Jennifer Reynolds, CEO of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance said: “Demand for green finance and responsible investment is growing strongly – and Toronto wants to strengthen its position as the location of choice for North America.”

Benno Seiler, Head of Economic Development at City of Zurich said: “Sustainability has become increasingly important in different segments of the financial centre Zurich. We are joining the network in order to contribute to this global mega-trend.”

As host of the meeting which launched the Network, Said Ibrahimi, CEO of the Casablanca Finance City Authority said: “As a leading African financial centre and one of the initiators of the network for sustainability, CFCA is strongly committed to strengthening green finance in Africa, which has today the greatest potential to make massive leapfrogs in sustainable development.

Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova and chair of Paris’ Finance for Tomorrow initiative, said: “Two years after the finalisation of the Paris Agreement, it’s clear that financial centres are becoming key places for mobilising action. Those who cooperate most will benefit most.”

The new Network is open to all financial centres and its objective is to “exchange experience and take common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance”. It will do this by raising awareness, strengthening market practice and promoting market expansion. It will also share experience on financial innovation, building capacity and engaging in dialogue with policymakers.

The Network is convened by UN Environment. Nick Robins, Co-Director of the UN Environment Inquiry, said: “Leading financial centres are now showing how they can contribute to making the green transition cheaper, faster and smoother.”

The Network’s inaugural meeting will be in Milan on 12-13 April 2018.

Notes to Editors

– Green finance is defined as finance that delivers environmental benefits in the context of sustainable development. Sustainable finance looks more broadly at environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in both market practice and policy frameworks for banking, capital markets, investment and insurance.

– The Casablanca statement on financial centres for sustainability can be found here.

– The new UN Environment report, Accelerating Financial Centre Action for Sustainable Development, can be found here.

– The Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System was launched by UN Environment to improve the financial system’s effectiveness in mobilizing capital for sustainable development. Established in January 2014, it published the first edition of ‘The Financial System We Need’ in October 2015, with the third edition launched in November 2017. The Inquiry has worked in over 20 countries and produced a wide array of briefings and reports on sustainable finance. It is secretariat for the G20 Green Finance Study Group as well as the Sustainable Insurance Forum of regulators. More information is available at: and

G7 throws weight behind Sustainable Finance movement

Bologna, 12 June 2017 -The G7 today joined the G20, other countries and markets in throwing its weight behind a growing movement to turn the power of the global financial system to sustainable development.

In a communique released at the end of a two-day meeting in Bologna, hosted by Italy, G7 environment ministers – including the US – called increased sustainable financing “fundamental” to the achievement of sustainability and climate goals.

The final statement also saw the G7 pledge continued action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, resource efficiency, marine litter, green jobs and climate change. The US backed the final statement, except for the climate action section, which it said it could not sign up to given its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

“Climate change, the unsustainable management of resources and the pollution of our oceans demand immediate, coordinated action to create a healthy environment capable of supporting our growing populations,” said Gian Luca Galletti, Italy’s Environment Minister.

“This is why Italy asked the G7, for the first time, to look at how to boost the role of the global financial system in sustainable development, and turn trillions of dollars in capital towards green investments.”

Sustainable finance is a rapidly accelerating global movement. Countries from China to France and the UK have launched initiatives to boost flows of private capital for climate and sustainability. The G20 has set up a green finance study group. The value of investment assets committed to the Principles for Responsible Investment is now over US$73 trillion.

Meanwhile, the green bond market almost doubled to more than US$80 billion in 2016, and is expected to increase to US$150 billion in 2017. However, despite this impressive growth, green bonds still represent less than 1 per cent of global bond issuance, point to the need for further action.

UN Environment’s Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System is a prominent champion of the movement, which seeks to unlock the finance needed to deliver on the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. The Inquiry has supported Italy’s G7 presidency over the last year as it explored the potential of sustainable finance.

Canada is next in line to take over the G7 Presidency from Italy. Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment & Climate Change, said they would continue the work, saying it was clear that “the environment and economy went together”, and pointing to how trillions of dollars of financing would create good jobs and grow economies.

According to Nick Robins, Co-Director of the Inquiry, the G7 now has a unique opportunity to quicken the pace of sustainable finance and do just that.

“G7 nations hold the bulk of the world’s financial assets and often lead the pack in terms of making environmental and social factors a core aspect of banking, investment and insurance,” he said. “We need to take this positive momentum to scale, so that finance supports the transition to a sustainable economy, particularly the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

Robins presented two reports, commissioned by Italy for the G7 and written by the Inquiry, at the meeting. The reports, the findings of which were endorsed in the final communique, outline strategies to ensure SMEs and financial centres are part of the sustainability solution.

“SMEs are the bedrock of the economy in terms of growth, employment and innovation, but often find it hard to find finance for essential investments in sustainability,” said Robins. “What is really exciting is the new range of mechanisms to help close this funding gap.”

SMEs are particularly important in Italy. The Italian economy is dominated by nearly four million SMEs, which make up 95 per cent of all companies.

The big task is to improve access to tailored financial services, both for SMEs wishing to improve their sustainability performance and those providing goods and services for the growing green economy (such as clean-tech pioneers). UN Environment’s first report, Mobilizing Sustainable Finance for SMEs, outlined practical ways of making progress.

For example, public finance institutions such as France’s BPI are offering low-interest loans to SMEs to improve energy efficiency. Canada’s BDC has launched venture capital funds for clean-tech innovators. In the US, state-level green banks are crowding in private capital in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

In Germany, the GLS Bank has led a financing partnership for green entrepreneurs. The Borsa Italiana is promoting green “mini-bonds”, which enable small businesses to raise capital from investors. Innovations in financial technology can also help through crowdfunding for the green economy, for example, by UK investment firm, Abundance.

The Inquiry’s Financial Centres for Sustainability report found that the G7 and other countries could encourage their financial centres to develop strategies that scale up green and sustainable finance – including through international cooperation that would create “a race to the top”.

“In financial centres, the supply and demand for finance comes together and action to connect finance and sustainability becomes tangible.” said Robins. “Over the past year, some G7 financial centres (such as Frankfurt, London and Paris) have launched green and sustainable finance initiatives, but there is still huge scope for improvement.”


Download Mobilizing Sustainable Finance for SMEs and Financial Centres for Sustainability

Working with UN Environment, Italy’s Environment Ministry made the G7 meeting climate neutral, offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions (estimated at around 250 tonnes of carbon dioxide) through the Clean Development Mechanism. The emissions credits used for the meeting support project in Bangladesh (solar energy), Pakistan (renewables) and Rwanda (Fluorescent lamp CFL distribution).