Investors Start Two-Year Push to Increase Supply of Sustainable Finance
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The UN Secretary-General launched an alliance of investors to advance sustainability financing as part of his strategy for financing the 2030 Agenda.

After developing performance indicators, the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance will periodically report on its efforts throughout its two-year mandate.

Businesses recognize that “the continued success of their companies is inextricably linked to a sustainable future for the world," according to the UN.

16 October 2019: The UN Secretary-General launched an alliance of investors to advance sustainability financing. After developing performance indicators, it will periodically report on efforts to scale up private sector investment in the 2030 Agenda, ensure that funds are directed to the areas of greatest need to achieve the SDGs, and incorporate the SDGs into business practices.

In April 2019, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the development of the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance as part of his strategy for financing sustainable development. The Alliance was developed by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), based on the design of the Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development. 

The true challenge at this stage is measurement, to show differences in speed and ambition among SDG actors.

The Alliance launched on 16 October 2019 in New York, US, and members held their first meeting with Guterres that day. Throughout its two-year mandate, GISD is expected to report against specific indicators – such as change in the supply of finance – in cooperation with the World Benchmarking Alliance. At a press briefing for the launch, GISD co-chair Oliver Bate, CEO of Allianz SE, said the “true challenge at this stage is measurement,” in order to be transparent about the difference in speed and ambition among different actors in implementing the SDGs.

The group is composed of the leaders of 30 financial institutions around the world as well as non-financial companies. The composition aims to reflect both supply and demand of sustainability financing and represent “the complete investment chain.” The GISD plans to hold regular consultations with external stakeholders, including at the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development in April 2020.

UN Chief Economist Elliott Harris told reporters that the members of the Alliance collectively control USD 16 trillion, are active in 160 countries, 6 continents, and serve over 700 million retail and corporate clients. A UN press release notes that businesses recognize that “the continued success of their companies is inextricably linked to a sustainable future for the world.”

GISD co-chair Leila Fourie, CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, said the future looks more favorable for “sustainable companies” than non-sustainable ones. Bate stressed the economic opportunity to be found in scaling up investments in developing countries.

The GISD Alliance is organized into three working groups:

  • Working Group 1 on increasing the supply of long-term investment for sustainable development (co-chaired by Citigroup & Emirates Environmental Group);
  • Working Group 2 on realizing SDG-related investment opportunities in developing countries (co-chaired by Allianz SE & Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès); and
  • Working Group 3 on enhancing the impact of private investment on sustainable development (co-chaired by Nuveen & UBS (tbc)).

The Alliance will be supported by a group of UN entities: DESA (leading the group), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the UN Global Compact, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the World Bank Group, as well as the UN regional commissions. [GISD Factsheet] [About the GISD Alliance] [GISD Brochure] [DESA News Story] [UN News Story


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