Argentina in the G20 Troika: the Boost to Sustainable Financing

Buenos Aires, 15 February 2017 – The Ministry of Treasury today hosted the UN Environment Mission as part of the country’s commitment to boosting sustainable financing.


About Us

FI About Us Title

Mobilizing the world’s capital is essential for the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. Today, however, too little capital is supporting the transition, and too much continues to be invested in a high-carbon and resource-intensive, polluting economy.

About Us

Mobilizing the world’s capital is essential for the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. Today, however, too little capital is supporting the transition, and too much continues to be invested in a high-carbon and resource-intensive, polluting economy.

Market participants and others recognize that prevailing rules and incentives governing financial markets can disadvantage long-term, sustainable behavior. Long-term environmental risks are not being effectively counted and green opportunities are inadequately valued. Such distortions can lead to a misallocation of capital and a danger of systemic risks to the economy and the natural environment.

There is an urgent need to accelerate the transition to a green economy by better aligning the financial system to the resilience and the long-term success of the real economy. The UNEP Inquiry is intended to support such actions by identifying best practice, and exploring financial market policy and regulatory innovations that would support the development of a green financial system.

Over the past two years, the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System has mapped the practice and potential for advancing such an alignment. Its global report, The Financial System We Need, reflects an in-depth analysis of practice in more than 15 countries and collaborative research across critical sectors and issues, such as banking, insurance, institutional investment and capital markets, captured in over 70 working papers. It describes a “quiet revolution” as sustainability factors are incorporated into the rules that govern the financial system. Much of this innovation has taken place at the national level, providing the platform for new forms of international cooperation. This convergence of national-level innovation with international frameworks, goals and ambitions provides the opportunity to create a new pathway for promoting green finance in the broadest sense.

In moving from design to delivery, the Inquiry will support the scale-up, broadening, and exchange of policy options, advance new critical research areas, and continue its national, regional, and international engagements to embed sustainability into financial architecture.

Download summary on the Inquiry


New FI - Publications homepage - inquiry

New FI - Publications homepage - inquiry_reports

New FI - Publications homepage - inquiry

New FI - Publications homepage - inquiry_reports

New FI - Publications homepage - inquiry

Read all publications


FI Events Homepage

Singapore (Singapore)

Monday, January 9, 2017 to Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Stockholm (Sweden)
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Geneva (Switzerland)
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Milan (Italy)
Monday, September 12, 2016

View all events

Country Engagement

National Engagements

Policy innovation for a sustainable financial system is taking place primarily at the country level, and the Inquiry wants to understand the driving imperatives behind innovations in specific locations, the lessons emerging and the potential for further developments. The Inquiry has now undertaken advanced work with national institutions and partners, focusing initially on Bangladesh, Brazil, China, the EU, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Uganda, the UK and the USA. This work will be critical to root the Inquiry’s thinking in the diversity of country realities and needs. Some highlights from the current work include:

Bangladesh's Central Bank takes an approach of “developmental central banking” and has deployed its financial, regulatory and persuasive powers to advance financial services to underserved groups. More recently it has extended this approach by establishing requirements that banks undertake environmental risk analysis, and direct a minimum proportion of their loans to green projects such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. Bangladesh Bank, represented by its former Governor on the Inquiry’s Advisory Council, worked with the Inquiry to commission an assessment of its work linking monetary policy and sustainability.

The Inquiry’s engagement in Bangladesh has been carried out through a strong partnership with Bangladesh Bank, led by the Bank's former Governor and Advisory Council member, Dr Atiur Rahman. The Inquiry has also worked with research partners including the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management,the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Swiss-based Council on Economic Policies.

Brazil has taken several steps to develop a green financial system. The BOVESPA Stock Exchange first set up its Corporate Sustainability Index (ISE) in 2005. The Banco Central do Brasil (BACEN) has put in place requirements for banks to monitor environmental risks, building on a voluntary Green Protocol from the banking sector. Brazil's banking association, FEBRABAN, working with the Inquiry has begun to develop a standardized assessment methodology and automated data collection system to monitor flows of finance green economy sectors. A further area of potential are steps to remove legal uncertainty for environmental damage in terms of lender liability.

The Federação Brasileira das Associações de Bancos (FEBRABAN), represented by its President on the Inquiry’s Advisory Council, Murilo Portugal has drawn on the Inquiry’s international network and knowledge in advancing Brazil’s domestic dialogue on sustainable finance. The Center for Studies in Sustainability of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (GVces) has also been a key research partner.  

In the face of urgent environmental challenges, policy and regulatory weaknesses in the real economy and longer term economic opportunities, China has seen the potential for embedding environmental considerations in its financial market development.  Initial developments focused on improving the environmental impact of bank lending through the Green Credit Guidelines of the China Banking Regulatory Commission. In 2014 The People’s Bank of China established a Green Finance Task Force co-convened with the Inquiry, to develop recommendations for a comprehensive program of reforms to enhance market information, strengthen legal frameworks, strengthen fiscal incentives and institutional design. Some of these proposals are now being further developed under an expanded Green Finance Committee.

China's central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has co-convened with the Inquiry a Green Finance Task Force involving dozens of officials and market actors to draw up proposals for a green financial system. The Inquiry has also worked with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Development Research Centre of the State Council in research workshops and a study tour to bring Chinese and international experts together.

India’s focus is on harnessing the financial system to provide the capital required to bring clean, affordable and reliable supplies of water and energy to all of its 1.3 billion citizens. A core financial policy in India is the Priority Sector Lending  requirement for banks to allocate 40% of lending to key sectors such as agriculture and small and medium-sized enterprises. In 2015, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) included lending to small renewable energy projects within the targets. The RBI has a vision of introducing market for trading priority sector lending obligations, incentivizing lower cost delivery. Efforts to strengthen business responsibility in the financial sector have also been stepped up, with the Indian Banking Association introducing the National Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Finance in 2015.

India's Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has catalysed a high-level dialogue between the industry, government and regulators as to how to best align India’s developing financial system with the country’s massive investment needs. The Inquiry's work in India has also been stewarded by Naina Lal Kidwai, Chairman of HSBC India and member of the Advisory Committee.

Indonesia has taken steps to embed environmental considerations into banking regulations date since 1998, but had only modest effects. In late 2014, the new financial regulator OJK launched its Roadmap for Sustainable Finance, the country’s first attempt to map out the developments needed to advance sustainable finance through 2019. The Roadmap covers banking, capital markets and non-bank financial services sector, and includes measures to: Increase the supply of sustainable financing through regulatory support and incentives, targeted loans and guarantee schemes, green lending models, green bonds, and a green index.

The Inquiry has worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Asia Responsible Investors Association (AsRIA) in developing its report on Indonesia's approach and potential for developing a sustainable financial system. The report was launched in an event hosted in Jakarta by the financial services authority Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK).

Kenya is a dynamic emerging economy which serves as a hub for the East and Central African region. However its economic growth is highly natural resource dependent with agriculture and tourism representing nearly half of GDP, making the country highly vulnerable to climate change and other environmental and social impacts. For the financial sector, these risks also present potential investment opportunities. Kenya has a historic opportunity to create a competitive advantage based on an inclusive green growth strategy. It is also home to world renowned fintech innovations, such as MPesa, Mshware and Mkopa that have successfully demonstrated how the private sector, with support from an engaged and pragmatic regulator, can profitably provide solutions to pressing societal needs. Investment in the green and inclusive economy is at an early stage for banks, pension and insurance funds in Kenya, but with pockets of innovation and leadership, asset diversification and product innovation.

The Inquiry worked with the International Financial Corporation to develop an initial scoping study on green finance in Kenya.

Discussions are underway with ETB on collaboration with PAGE countries (Mauritius, Mongolia, and Peru). Initial work in South Africa has already begun, with the Inquiry teaming with the Global Green Growth Institute. Initial engagement will begin in early September for Uganda, which has requested assistance with its Green Growth strategy. Work has also begun with Colombia, who will work with the IFC. Additional countries (Morocco, Singapore, Malaysia) will be included contingent on budget.

The Advisory Council

Guiding the Inquiry


Italian National Dialogue Finds 18 Ways to Promote Sustainable Finance (9 February 2017)

A national dialogue process on green finance in Italy has yielded a list of 18 possible policy actions for redesigning the country’s financial system to meet sustainability aims. The one-year dialogue engaged Italy’s banking and finance sector to identify barriers to and opportunities for improving the flow of financing to socially-inclusive and ecologically-sound projects.

Greening Digital Finance (7 February 2017)

Digital finance has turned out to be an unexpected revolutionary, simply by enabling low-cost financial inclusion. Thanks to new financial technologies (fintech), consumers can shop seamlessly, migrants can send hard-earned money to their families cheaply, small businesses can access credit in minutes through Big Data-driven profiling, and savers can shape their own investment destinies. But if fintech is to reach its potential to advance the global public good, another factor must be accounted for: the environment.

The Future Is Green Finance (2 February 2017)

Climate change is mobilising capital for green ventures, renewables and clean technology, but is green finance sustainable?

What Is Green Finance?

Green finance is a term that includes the financing of environmentally friendly investments, as well as practices that embed sustainability more broadly across the industry. 2016 was the hottest on record for the third consecutive year, and the public and private sector are increasingly committed to reducing the greenhouse gases that accelerate climate change.

Greening Fintech (1 February 2017)

Digital finance is already the lifeblood of our global financial system. Now the race is on for fintech to underpin innovative efforts to address today’s environmental challenges, and in so doing to tap long-term sources of value creation.

At stake are the world’s ecosystems on which we depend, and the need and opportunity to create an inclusive green economy that provides decent jobs for all.

Read all blogs


Contact us

UNEP Inquiry

icon 1Chemin des Anémones 11-13,
Geneva, Switzerland
icon 2 +41 (0) 2 29178995