Good News on Sustainable Finance

“Ethical Markets Media congratulates the team at the UNEP Inquiry and is happy to learn that all their good work in driving financial markets toward greener, more sustainable models is continuing.  We’ll be with you all the way!

~Hazel Henderson, Editor”

logologoimgTomorrow, the Inquiry brand will come to the completion of its mandate, and today we thought it would be a good idea to put our crystal ball on the table and look into the future. As you may all know by now, our brand may be retiring, but our work will continue throughout the year.

Our continuing work includes key international policy processes, such as supporting the G20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) throughout the Chinese, German and Argentinian leadership. During its G20 presidency in 2016, China launched the G20 Green Finance Study Group, co-chaired by the People’s Bank of China and the Bank of England, with UN Environment as its secretariat. The GFSG developed seven options for scaling up the global green finance market and included them in the G20 Hangzhou Communiqué in September 2016. Across a broad range of initiatives, the 12-month period from June 2016 was the year with the greatest number of green finance measures ever recorded since 2000. The GFSG continued under the German G20 Presidency in 2017 and is now working as the Sustainable Finance Study Group under the Argentinian presidency, which will continue its work through till the end of 2018.

The Inquiry has also worked with banks, investors, insurers and stock exchanges, and identified the critical role that financial centres could play, resulting in the launch of a new Financial Centres for Sustainability Network, with 17 hubs involved.

Convened by the Inquiry, the new network is open to all financial centres. Its objective is to “exchange experience and take common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance”. Launched in Casablanca on 28 September 2017, the founding members of the network include Astana, Casablanca, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris, Qatar, Shanghai and Stockholm and this work will continue for the foreseeable future, starting with a meeting in Milan on 12-13 April. Watch this space for more developments.

We will also continue to be engaged in the area of digital finance and have teamed up with Ant Financial Services to launch the Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance (SDFA), which aims to address the potential for digital finance-powered business innovations to reshape the financial system.

Along with UN Environment, Ant Financial was a founding partner of the SDFA. The alliance is both the first platform looking at the greening of digital finance, and the first around global public goods co-founded by a Chinese company.

Beyond helping to create the alliance, Ant Financial has created an app that gamifies carbon footprint tracking. Incredibly, 3% of the world’s population, or 200 million+ Chinese users, signed up for the app, which tracks purchases made through its Alipay payment platform to award “green energy points” in the Ant Forest Programme. The scoring system is based on how environmentally friendly a purchase is – such as paying a bill online instead of travelling to a store to do it or buying a metro ticket instead of fuel for a car. The points allow users to grow virtual trees and, through the in-built social network component, compete with friends. When the virtual tree is big enough, Ant’s partners plant real trees in the desert/degraded areas.

Some 10 million trees have been planted, and an estimated 1.22 million tonnes of CO2 saved, by the accumulated behaviour changes by individuals. This example clearly shows how fintech – technology used to improve financial services – can green the daily lives of millions of people. Just like the above mentioned initiatives this will also continue well into the future.

The Sustainable Insurance Forum is another one of our endeavours which will continue beyond the retirement of the brand. The Sustainable Insurance Forum (SIF) is a network of insurance supervisors and regulators who are working together on the sustainability challenges facing the business of insurance.

The Forum is convened by UN Environment – drawing together the Inquiry and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) – and has attracted support from supervisors around the world. The Inquiry supports the SIF and the implementation of its work programme through research, analysis and process management.

With so much work that goes through to till the end of the year and often into next year, we can say fairly confidently that you will be hearing from us soon. So do not think of this as goodbye, we are merely stepping out for a walk and will be right back in a minute. Till our next update, keep in touch with us at [email protected] and check out our twitter account. We look forward to staying in touch and following all the great work being done by you.

Kind regards,The Inquiry Team