The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) to discuss, inter alia, the changing context for sustainable finance, with a focus on risks and impacts.
The AGM also reaffirmed the partnership between the UN and the finance sector as critical for unlocking private finance in support of a sustainable economy.
12 October 2015: The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) to discuss, inter alia, the changing context for sustainable finance, with a focus on risks and impacts. The AGM also reaffirmed the partnership between the UN and the finance sector as critical for unlocking private finance in support of a sustainable economy.
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, and Christiana Figueres, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, via video link, opened the meeting, which convened the 12-13 October in Paris, France. In a statement, Hermes CEO, Saker Nusseibeh, said the real asset owner is “the pensioner who wants to retire in an environment worth retiring in.”
The meeting included: UNEP FI members-only sessions, which addressed governance of the UNEP FI partnership; opportunities for UNEP FI to reach a range of stakeholders through high-level and practical public sessions; an open dialogue between leaders in the UN and financial institutions on the role of the finance sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a climate agreement in Paris in December; and a public breakfast meeting focused on cutting-edge environmental, social and governance (ESG) tools.
One session showcased the tools, methodologies and frameworks developed by UNEP FI for financial institutions to better manage emerging environmental and social risks, including risks related to carbon assets, water scarcity, land, natural disasters and climate, and human rights. Other sessions included a market event on the UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance, and a high-level event on creating financial sector momentum towards the SDGs and the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC.
In parallel to the AGM, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) pledged CHF4.2 million (US$43 million) towards UNEP FI’s Natural Capital Declaration’s (NCD) environmental risk management programme to fast track the integration of natural capital issues and environmental risk management into the finance sector, including across the portfolios of financial institutions and in credit risk assessments. The project will include a focus on banks and fund managers in Colombia, Indonesia, Peru and South Africa, priority countries for SECO’s economic development cooperation. Andrew Mitchell, NCD Co-Director, said that several financial institutions have already committed to actively participate in the project, which will begin in November 2015 and be completed over 2.5 years. It will build on other NCD tools to integrate natural capital data into financial analysis, such as a tool co-developed with Bloomberg to evaluate the implications of water stress for mining equities valuations.
The NCD is a global finance-led initiative signed by 40 financial institutions that have committed to integrate natural capital considerations into financial products and services, such as loans, equity, fixed income and insurance products, and to work towards their inclusion in financial accounting, disclosure and reporting frameworks. [UNEP FI AGM Website] [UNEP FI Press Release] [NCD Press Release] [NCD Website] [IISD RS Story on UNEP FI Banks Issuing Manifesto on Positive Impact Finance]