19 December 2017
UNEP Report Finds Growing Momentum for Green, Sustainable Finance
One Planet Summit | Plenary Video
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Five cities announced their commitment to the International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability: Frankfurt, Geneva and Zurich, Shenzen, and Toronto.

These cities will join others in working to support action on climate change and sustainable development.

In a report, UNEP describes the goals and activities of the Network and provides an overview of progress towards a sustainable financial system.

12 December 2017: During the One Planet Summit, five cities committed to harness their financial expertise to support action on sustainable development and climate change. Also on sustainable finance, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report titled, ‘Accelerating financial sector action on sustainable development,’ that finds “clear” momentum towards a sustainable financial system, with over 20 financial centers now active in sustainable, green finance.

UNEP convenes the International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability, which aims to mobilize the resources and expertise of financial centers around the world to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs. According to UNEP, financial centers are places where banking, investment and insurance markets are concentrated and where green and sustainable financial services need to be scaled up.

At the Summit, the following cities announced their intention to join the Network: Frankfurt, Germany; Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland; Shenzen, China; and Toronto, Canada. The Network launched in September 2017 as part of work undertaken by Italy during its Group of 7 (G7) Presidency.

The Network will work to add value in seven strategic areas:

  • raising awareness in financial centers on climate change and sustainable development;
  • strengthening market practices by facilitating clarity and convergence on key definitions, taxonomies and standards and supporting their implementation;
  • promoting market expansion through cooperation between financial centers, including cross-border financial flows;
  • stimulating financial innovation through filling market gaps and developing; breakthrough approaches;
  • building capacity among financial center professionals;
  • providing an authoritative voice on effective ways to harness financial centers; and
  • enabling performance measurement by supporting data collection and analysis on the contributions of financial centers to sustainable development.

The report showcases regions and countries that are taking action to promote sustainable finance, particularly China, the EU, Italy, Morocco, and Singapore.

The UNEP report highlights positive signs of progress on sustainable, green finance and outlines the goal and planned activities of the International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability. In particular, the report showcases a growing number of regions and countries that are taking action to promote sustainable finance, particularly China, the EU, Italy, Morocco, and Singapore. Other signs of progress featured in the report include the issuance of over US$100 billion in green bonds in 2017.

Despite this progress, the report cautions that current momentum is insufficient to deliver on both the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. The authors recommend accelerating the expansion of green and sustainable finance to close this gap.

The report suggests sustainability initiatives can add value in four areas: demonstrating cross-sectoral connections, such as between green bonds and green loans; identifying and filling market gaps, including through dedicated climate finance accelerators; moving from awareness-raising efforts to building skills and expertise needed for sustainable financial markets; and bridging market interests and policy objectives.

On the Network’s activities, the report identifies priorities for possible early action, ranging from working to promote, endorse and implement key standards such as the Task Force on Climate-related Finance Disclosures (TCFD) to sharing experiences on green loans and green fintech.

President Emmanual Macron hosted the One Planet Summit in Paris, France, on 12 December 2017. The meeting discussed practical ways for the Network to work together. The Network’s inaugural meeting will take place in Milan, Italy, from 12-13 April 2018. [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Accelerating financial sector action on sustainable development] [One Planet Summit Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Network Launch]

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