The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative calls for: Rio+20 to incentivize financial institutions to integrate sustainability issues into their risk management policies and overall decision-making procedures; a global policy framework requiring the integration of material sustainability issues on a “report or explain” basis; and UN-backed partnerships with the financial sector and broader private sector to work more closely together.
19 April 2012: The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has released its position paper for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), titled “A Financial Sector Perspective.” The paper underscores that, to fulfil the financial sector’s role in achieving sustainable development, concerted action is necessary between financial institutions, business and industry, and the global policy-making community. The paper also details UNEP FI’s desired outcomes of Rio+20.
UNEP FI’s desired outcomes include: that the role of the financial sector in achieving sustainable development is highlighted, in light of its ability to promote the allocation of capital to those businesses and market players operating more sustainably, and that financial institutions are incentivized to integrate sustainability issues into their risk management policies and overall decision-making procedures.
The position paper stresses that the availability and accessibility of corporate sustainability information should be promoted through: facilitating access to information on relevant sustainability-related norms and regulations; developing a convention that provides a global policy framework requiring the integration of material sustainability issues within the corporate reporting cycle, on a “report or explain” basis; and encouraging regular evaluation of the sustainability impacts of commercial and residential properties.
The position paper also recommends that governments commit to work closely with the financial sector in building the markets for long-term, sustainable lending, investment and insurance products and services, so as to further promote a financial system that serves sustainable development, and that refocuses financial institutions on their core role in society as unique enablers of the advancement of individuals, companies and nations. Finally, it calls for all UN-embedded and UN-backed partnerships with the financial sector and the broader private sector to work more closely together. [Publication: UNEP FI Position Paper on the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20): A Financial Sector Perspective]