It is a delight to write this newsletter after two months in the role as Director and with the benefit of early insight into the workings of UNEP FI, the broader UNEP and UN environment, and with the extremely useful direct feedback from our Global Steering Committee (GSC) at the in-person meeting in Paris last week.
My discussions with colleagues in the broader UN network has confirmed a significantly raised level of interest by Governments, NGO’s and policy makers around the world in the role that the finance sector has to play in enabling the transition from a carbon intensive environmentally unsustainable world economy to an inclusive, carbon-lite green economy. This raised level of interest is evident in the wide range and diverse nature of engagement in which over recent months UNEP FI has been involved and which look set to continue going forward.
It is also evident in the number of new ‘Sustainable Finance’ initiatives that are springing up at national, regional and industry level: I welcome the fact that more practitioners, experts, academics and researchers are lending their weight to this shared area of interest and am also mindful that we need to maintain a clear view both of our distinctive capability and how best to work collaboratively to drive as much change as possible into a sector that is crucial to all of our long term well-being.
That the voice of signatories is heard and continues to be well represented in these engagements is paramount and in this respect I am very grateful for the feedback and ideas received from the GSC on how to improve this aspect of the work we do. In the coming months I will be asking all signatories for their perspectives on UNEP FI and will incorporate this feedback into our work programme for approval at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Geneva this October.
During the last two months, UNEP FI co-chaired a session at the first ever Partnership for Action on a Green Economy (PAGE) conference in Dubai, which was hosted by the United Arab Emirates government. Following this, the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) had major events in London, Bangkok and Bonn involving insurance practitioners, insurance regulators and governments; the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) advisory council meeting took place in London; and, UNEP FI presented at the Egyptian Banking Institute’s Annual Conference in Cairo, held on the topic of Banking & Sustainability.
I hope you find the updates included in this newsletter to be of interest and welcome any thoughts, queries or comments.
UNEP Finance Initiative
Over the past two months, leading environmental scientists have called on policymakers and business leaders to invest more to avoid potential catastrophic scenarios while decreasing the GHG emissions fueling climate change.
With the release of the latest working group reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the international body established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization, the question now is not whether man-made climate change is occurring, but how do we deal with it. As Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC said, “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”
The full reports and the summaries for policy makers of the Working Groups will contribute to the Fifth Assessment Report, due to be released later this year in October, and state that the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans and that the world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a … read more
Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative Gains Further Traction with Major Events in Europe and Asia
UNEP FI and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is pleased to invite you to attend the presentation of a new publication Sustainability Metrics: Translation and impact on property investment and management. Led by the Property Working Group (PWG) of UNEP FI and developed by the Centre for Real Estate at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the report was brought about through the support of RICS, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).
Climate Change: Building Natural Capital: How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy
5 May, Jakarta
UNEP in collaboration with UNEP FI, UN-REDD Programme and UNORCID will be hosting a discussion forum on 5 May at the Forest Asia Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia. The session will examine the role that REDD+ can play in the transition to a Green Economy, with a specific focus on private sector engagement and investments into sustainable landscapes using practical examples from forest countries.
A Symposium on Financing a Green Economy will take place during the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), to be held in Nairobi on the 25 June 2014. The Symposium, organized by UNEP FI, and drawing on the UNEP Inquiry on The Design of a Sustainable Financial System, will bring together Ministers of Environment, policymakers and actors from financial markets for an informed conversation. It is designed to inspire, raise awareness and offer guidance to UNEA participants on mobilizing finance for the green economy.
The interim report of the group co-convened by the European Commission / Directorate-General for Energy Energy and UNEP FI focuses on the financing of energy efficiency in buildings in the European Union. The report is organised around the drivers of both supply and demand for financing of projects, the policy-led and market-led approaches and instruments to stimulate more investments in energy efficiency in buildings, as well as some interim recommendations to policy-makers.
Principles for Sustainable Insurance Become New Insurance Industry Assessment Criterion of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
As part of the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices methodology update, the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) – as a global sustainability framework – became a new assessment criterion for the insurance industry.
This criterion seeks to measure the extent to which insurance companies have committed to integrating environmental, social and governance principles into … read more
First Global PAGE Conference
The inaugural conference on PAGE was held in the United Arab Emirates, under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The two day event took place from 4-5 March, 2014.
The conference was an opportunity to review international experience and progress related to green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. It also considered how greener economies can contribute to the emerging post-2015 development agenda.
UNEP FI was represented by Charles Anderson, who co-chaired the session on Fiscal policy and finance – Investing in a green transition, with the Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change from Malta. The session report can be viewed here.
In addition to the initial launch of the report Commercial Real Estate: Unlocking the energy efficiency retrofit investment opportunity in New York, a webinar was hosted by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in March.
Panelists provided an overview of what investors, asset managers and banks can already undertake to scale up the financing of energy efficiency in buildings by sharing experience about existing and successful financing mechanisms or instruments. View the webinar recording here.
In April an extensively debated regulation was issued by the Central Bank of Brazil requiring the country’s bank to have environmental and social risk management systems in place.
In the same period, UNEP FI participated in a workshop in Colombia about the legal environmental risk, organized by the Committee of Latin American Financial Law, COLADE, a part of the Federation of Latin American Banks (FELABAN). Lawyers from banking associations and banks from Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela participated and discussed the local regulatory applicable environmental frameworks in their countries.
UNEP FI highlighted the importance of going beyond the national norms, regulatory trends in the region and voluntary protocols that adhere to international standards for Environment and Social Risk Analysis were highlighted. Findeter presented their experience of incorporating international and national environmental standards in their credit operations.
Upcoming Environmental & Social Risk Analysis (ESRA) Online Courses
“Thank you for a very informative course. I now have the skills to look at credit from a sustainability perspective as opposed to profit only”
Moses Mugo, Senior Credit Analyst, KCB, Kenya
The ESRA Training Programme is one of the most well-respected trainings on the topic available to practitioners around the world. Since its beginnings in 2005, it has provided a regular and increasingly diversified resource to risk managers, credit analysts and relationship managers. The ESRA Training Programme has been offered in English, French, Spanish and related trainings have also happened in other languages such as Portuguese and Japanese.
Upcoming Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities for the Finance Sector Online Course
“Enrolling in this course proved an invaluable experience. A rare combination of cutting-edge material, knowledgeable mentors and pro-active participants ensured discussions were lively and made it a worthwhile time investment”
Sandra Bambarén Seminario, Senior Credit Officer, Scotiabank Peru
The Online Course on “Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities for the Finance Sector” provides participants with a fundamental understanding of the science behind climate change and the structure of the international climate change regime. Furthermore, this course aims to educate participants on how financial markets-across the banking, investment, and insurance sectors-can cope with the resulting risks of climate change, and seize the potential opportunities.
Money2Water: The Global Water Investment Summit, 7 – 8 May, London
This event is co-branded with UNEP and explores risks, innovations and opportunities for companies for a topic that is becoming increasingly material for financial institutions: water. The conference provides industry players with the opportunity to converge, learn, network and do business in a variety of water-related sectors worldwide. It covers investing and finance in water, water in power, mining, agriculture, food and beverage sector and manufacturing.
UNEP FI members and subscribers receive an exclusive 10% discount – quote “M2W10” when you register.