News

German G20 Presidency Launches GreenInvest Platform to Engage Developing Countries on Green Finance Needs and Opportunities

11 January 2017 - As part of Germany's G20 Presidency, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, abbreviated to 'BMZ') is advancing the 'GreenInvest' dialogue platform in order to engage developing countries in the mainstreaming and mobilisation of green finance.

A first consultation of developing countries under the GreenInvest platform was held in Singapore on 9 and 10 January with participants from some 25 developing countries.

BMZ' Parliamentary State Secretary, Thomas Silberhorn said: "Within the German development cooperation, we are placing a strong emphasis on supporting our partners in building local financial systems and framework conditions to mobilize and shift private investments towards a sustainable future. GreenInvest is an excellent vehicle to advance our joint understanding and setting the stage for scaled-up action on green finance."

UN Environment has been selected to develop and manage GreenInvest, building on its extended experience in advancing sustainable finance. UN Environment's co-Director of the Inquiry into Design Options for a Sustainable Financial System, Simon Zadek said, "UN Environment welcomes the opportunity through its involvement in GreenInvest to highlight the innovations by, and accelerate the flow of green finance in developing countries".

GreenInvest During Germany's G20 Presidency

GreenInvest seeks to ensure that developing countries will have a voice in the evolution of green finance initiatives and practices across the global financial system. It is based on an initiative launched during Mexico's G20 Presidency in 2012 and will feed-into the newly established Sustainability Working Group under Germany's G20 Presidency. It complements other green finance work streams under Germany's G20 Presidency including the Green Finance Study Group in the Finance Track.

During Germany's G20 Presidency, GreenInvest will focus on three major themes, greening foreign direct investment (FDI), the role of financial technology ('fintech') in advancing green finance, and enabling developing countries to effectively participate in international cooperation to accelerate green finance.

GreenInvest's Launch Event

GreenInvest's launch under the German G20 Presidency took place in Singapore, co-hosted by the Singapore Management University. Subsequent meetings in 2017 will take place in Berlin, Frankfurt and Washington. Attended by senior executives and officials from central banks, stock exchanges, banking and other business associations, and finance ministries, key outcomes from the meeting included:

  • GreenInvest confirmed the importance of an organized interface between the concerns and aspirations of developing countries and G20 process and the value of the GreenInvest platform in providing such an interface on issues related to green finance reform. The interface is equally important in respect of other international processes where green finance is at issue.
  • Further, the consultation urged the GreenInvest platform to facilitate the development of domestic green finance reform strategies and roadmaps and to gather and make available best practice from around the world on the development and implementation of such strategies. This includes providing an integrative envelope through which the many international networks on different aspects of green finance might optimally contribute to national green finance reform processes.
  • Finally, the consultation identified a number of current or potential issues for developing countries in respect of the unintended consequences of green finance sector development, including the risk that climate action might increase the cost of capital or the need to make optimal use of digital financial technology to accelerate green and inclusive development without opening developing country economies to new risks.

For further information, contact GreenInvest through the UN Environment's Inquiry Director of Outreach, Mahenau Agha, at: mahenau.agha@unep.org, +4179-105-3614, www.unepinquiry.org/greeninvest

Supplementary Notes

Background on Green Finance

US$90 trillion is needed to finance the transition of the global economy along a low-carbon, climate resilient, non-polluting pathway. Much of this finance will be needed in developing countries, and the majority will need to be funded using private capital given fiscal limits.

Momentum is building to align the financial system with sustainable development goals, including climate imperatives, noting that:

  • Some of this momentum is being driven by developing countries, including G20 members such as Brazil, China and Indonesia, and non-G20 countries including Kenya and Colombia.
  • International cooperation is also growing, including the G20 Green Finance Study Group and the Financial Stability Board's task force on climate-related risk disclosure.

Background on GreenInvest

GreenInvest builds on the Green Growth Action Alliance established at the G20 Leaders Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, in 2013 to accelerate investment in green priorities in developing countries. Subsequent developments of the platform have involved the Global Green Growth Institute, the International Finance Corporation, UN Environment, and the World Economic Forum.

Since then, green finance has risen up the agenda of both policy-makers and markets. China has championed this development as part of its G20 Presidency through the newly-established Green Finance Study Group, which will continue in 2017 under the German Presidency. Similarly elsewhere, international organisations and initiatives and increasing numbers of countries are advancing green finance through market, policy and regulatory innovations.

GreenInvest will be relaunched under the German G20 Presidency to strengthen the connection between green finance momentum and the insights, innovations and needs of developing countries. It will engage developing country actors in dialogue and action as a contribution to key international developments, and to seek to ensure that such developments take account of the specific needs of developing countries. Specifically, during the German G20 Presidency, GreenInvest will seek to facilitate the following:

  • Raising awareness amongst developing countries of current international developments and opportunities, enabling learning and contributions of experience and perspectives, such as on-going green finance work across the G20 and the Financial Stability Board.
  • Encouraging a coordinated approach amongst sustainable finance initiatives to improve their effectiveness on the ground in developing countries, such as the Principles for Responsible Investment, the Principle for Sustainable Insurance, the Sustainable Banking Network, the Sustainable Insurance Forum and the Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative.

In addition to this approach to enhancing the role of developing countries in international cooperation on green finance, GreenInvest will focus on two specific themes:

  • Building understanding or how to green foreign direct investment flows to and among developing countries as well as the impacts of these compared to traditional investment.
  • Understanding how to maximize the positive impact of financial technology on green finance (and how to minimize the negative impacts).

Background on BMZ and UN Environment

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, abbreviated BMZ) is leading the relaunch of GreenInvest as part of Germany's G20 Presidency.

The UN Environment has been advancing sustainable finance since 1992, through its Finance Initiative and more recently the Inquiry into Design Options for a Sustainable Financial System. The Inquiry was established in early 2014 to advance the alignment of the financial system with sustainable development. Its global report, "The Financial System We Need: Momentum to Transformation", as well as other technical and country papers, can be accessed at www.unepinquiry.org.

Financial Technology Can Break New Ground in the Transformation towards Sustainable Development

14 December 2016 - Technological innovation is disrupting every aspect of today's financial system, but it could also break new ground in the world's transformation toward sustainable development, according to UN Environment's latest report, "Fintech and Sustainable Development: Assessing the Implications".

Financial technology, known as 'fintech' - including innovations such as mobile payment platforms, high-frequency trading, crowdfunding, virtual currencies, and blockchain - threaten the viability of today's financial sector business models, and the policies and regulations that have shaped modern finance. But in combination, these innovations - given the speed, breadth and depth of their disruptive impact - could also be harnessed to better align financing with sustainable development.

Turmoil and transition guarantee that tomorrow's financial system will be very different, and fintech innovations are putting finance at the core of an increasingly automated global economy with seamless two-way communication. This greater decentralization for financial transactions could in turn help increase the provision of finance for sustainable development, the report finds.

The report is a companion to the second edition of "The Financial System We Need" by UN Environment's Financial Inquiry and assesses how the financial system's core functions are likely to be disrupted by fintech innovations and how they could help - or hinder - efforts to align financing with sustainable development. The report considers ways to:

  • Unlock greater financial inclusion by reducing the costs for payments and providing better access to capital domestically and internationally;
  • Mobilize domestic savings at a scale that will enable long-term investment directed at the long-term sustainability of the real economy;
  • Disrupt the provision of financial protection, risk management, risk transfer and risk diversification for vulnerable and exposed communities, real economy assets and infrastructures, and nature's ecosystems;
  • Collect, analyze and distribute information on the financial system and the real economy for better economic decision-making, regulation and risk management;
  • Provide financial markets with the level playing field and market integrity needed for long-term real economy investments aligned with the sustainable development agenda.

The report also presents an innovative analysis of how advances in three digital technologies - blockchain, machine learning and artificial intelligence (MLAI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) - could lead to revolutionary innovations for building trust, transparency and traceability for financial transactions and make tomorrow's financial system far more efficient in mobilizing green finance.

Simon Zadek, co-director of UN Environment's Inquiry, said: "The overlap between environment and finance is more obvious than ever. The solutions that fintech promises could not only revolutionize the financial sector but bolster global efforts to safeguard our environment."

Action is needed now to shape the emerging direction of fintech. The report therefore includes some key steps for the 'fintech for sustainable development' journey, such as:

  • Ensuring that fintech is an integral part of financial system development plans, particularly at the national level, and especially for developing countries;
  • Establishing a platform of leading fintech companies to influence the right enabling businesses, policies and standards to connect fintech with sustainable development;
  • Incentivizing fintech alignment with sustainable development by, for example, supporting venture capital and social impact funds to fund start-ups with sustainable development ambitions.
  • Creating a challenge fund to create a global community of purpose that can pilot and create replicable solutions over time.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Mahenau Agha, Head of Outreach, Inquiry +41 79-105-3614, mahenau.agha@unep.org

UN Environment Newsdesk (Nairobi), +254 715 876 185, unepnewsdesk@unep.org

About UN Environment's Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System:

The Inquiry is the international platform for advancing national and international efforts to shift the trillions required for delivering an inclusive, green economy through the transformation of the global financial system. Since launching in 2014, the Inquiry has worked with more than twenty countries on national processes, published around 90 reports and working papers and serves as the Secretariat for the G20's Green Finance Study Group. Its landmark 2015 report "The Financial System We Need" revealed for the first time the "quiet revolution" already taking place, led particularly by some developing countries, and its potential to renew the purpose of the financial system in the context of sustainable development. The second edition of "The Financial System We Need" revealed a doubling in policy actions over the past five years to align the global financial system with sustainable development; it called for more effort to turn this momentum into genuine global transformation and made a series of recommendations to help accelerate this process.

International Insurance Regulators Establish Forum to Address Sustainability Issues

San Francisco, 5 December – A new international network of insurance regulators and supervisors has been launched to promote cooperation on critical sustainable insurance challenges, such as climate change.

Held in San Francisco, the first meeting of the Sustainable Insurance Forum included insurance supervisors and regulators from Brazil, California, France, Ghana, Jamaica, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore and the UK, as well as the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.

The insurance sector is pivotal to an effective response to sustainable development. This includes providing coverage against natural disasters as well as integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the management of their assets.

Increasingly, insurance regulators and supervisors are exploring how these factors impact upon their goals of ensuring the safety, soundness and accountability of the sector. For the first time, the Forum provides an international platform for insurance regulatory and supervisory bodies to share experience and explore common approaches.

The California Department of Insurance and UN Environment co-hosted the inaugural meeting of the Forum.

California’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said: “Insurance regulators have an important role to ensure that critical sustainability risks and opportunities are effectively managed. The new Forum will enable supervisors to learn from each other and take common action against shared threats to the insurance sector such as climate change.”

UN Environment’s Assistant Secretary General Elliott Harris said: “Insurance is one of the pivotal sectors underpinning the transition to sustainable development. As part of this, regulators and supervisors will play a vital role and UN Environment is delighted to be the secretariat for the new Forum.”

Natalie Haanwinckel Hurtado, Secretary General of Brazil’s SUSEP said: “SUSEP welcomes the launch of the Sustainable Insurance Forum as a way for us to both learn from the experience of others and share Brazil’s lessons with our peers in other countries.”

Commissioner Lydia Bawa of the National Insurance Commission of Ghana said: “In providing a space for supervisors and regulators to convene and collaborate, the Sustainable Insurance Forum can inspire other jurisdictions to tackle critical sustainability issues.”

David Rule, Executive Director of Insurance Supervision at the UK’s Prudential Regulatory Authority said: “The potential for an international network to share experience among regulators was highlighted in our landmark review of the insurance sector and climate change. We are delighted that this seed of an idea has now come to fruition”.

Yoshiro Kawai, Secretary General of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, said: “”As IAIS’ Secretary General, I welcome the establishment of the Forum as a platform for insurance supervisors to discuss how they can support the development of an insurance industry that contributes to environmental, social and economic sustainability.”

The Forum builds on UN Environment’s long-standing work on sustainable insurance – and UN Environment will provide the Forum’s secretariat. UN Environment is home for the Principles for Sustainable Insurance, which provides a structured framework for insurance companies to integrate ESG factors into their operations.

In addition, UN Environment’s Financial Inquiry has explored how the rules that govern the financial system, including the insurance sector, can best promote long-term sustainable development. A leadership group of eight jurisdictions – including Brazil, France, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Africa, the UK and the US States of California and Washington – has guided the design of the Forum.

The San Francisco meeting approved the Forum’s first year work programme for 2017, including a focus on disclosure, access to insurance, sustainable insurance roadmaps, climate risk, disaster risk reduction and capacity building for supervisors.

Nick Robins, co-director of the Inquiry added: “The launch of the Sustainable Insurance Forum highlights the leadership that exists across the world among a growing number of insurance supervisors. Its work programme aims to make a real difference in the way that insurance supervisors respond to the world’s sustainability challenges.”

The Forum’s inaugural meeting also benefitted from presentations from the insurance sector and sustainability experts including from Aon, Bahamas First General Insurance, CERES, DLA Piper, Insurance Association of the Caribbean, Mercer, S&P, SwissRe and the 2 Degrees Initiative.

Notes for Editors

The California Department of Insurance:

As regulator of the largest insurance market in the United States, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones leads a national, multi-state insurance regulators group that surveys annually more than 1,000 companies regarding their response to climate risk, capturing approximately 77 percent of the entire U.S. insurance market. In January 2016 Jones launched the Climate Risk Carbon Initiative to enable the industry, regulators, consumers and investors to assess climate risks posed for insurers’ investments in fossil fuel holdings and thermal coal enterprises. The data received will be used to better inform regulators, interested members of the public, and the insurance companies themselves on the extent to which they hold carbon investments facing potential climate risk. The information will also enhance regulators’ future in-depth financial analysis and financial examinations of insurers with regard to climate risk. More information on the Climate Risk Carbon Initiative.

UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance:

The Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) serve as a global framework for the insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, and to strengthen its contribution to building resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities and economies. Endorsed by the UN Secretary-General and insurance CEOs, the PSI was launched at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development and is the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry. Nearly 100 organisations worldwide have adopted the PSI, including insurers representing more than 20% of world premium volume and US$14 trillion in assets under management. More information on the PSI is at: www.unepfi.org/psi or from: butch.bacani@unep.org.

UN Environment’s Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System:

The Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System has been initiated by UN Environment to advance policy options to improve the financial system’s effectiveness in mobilizing capital towards a green and inclusive economy – in other words, sustainable development. Established in January 2014, it published the first edition of ‘The Financial System We Need’ in October 2015, and the second edition ‘From Momentum to Transformation’ in October 2016. The Inquiry’s mandate currently extends to the end of 2017, with work focused on deepening and taking forward its findings.

More information on the Inquiry is at: www.unep.org/inquiry/ and www.unepinquiry.org or from nick.robins@unep.org.

Actions to Green the Financial System Have Doubled - But Further Transformation Still Needed

30 September 2016 - Worldwide policy actions to harness the global financial system for sustainable development have more than doubled over the last five years, but more effort is needed to turn this momentum into genuine global transformation, according to the second edition of UN Environment's landmark report, "The Financial System We Need".

Over the past five years, policy and regulatory measures by finance ministries, central banks and financial regulators to promote sustainable finance have risen to 217 and now exist in nearly 60 countries, the report finds.

Developing and emerging economies have focused their efforts on greening the banking sector, accounting for 70% of total measures in that sector. Developed countries have focused their action on environmental, social and governance issues by institutional investors, accounting for 92% of all measures in that sector.

Capital is also starting to shift, the report finds. The issuance of green bonds has already reached US$51.4bn this year, up from last year's total of US$41.8bn - a fourfold increase since 2013, when issuance was below US$11bn. However, the total amount of green bonds outstanding is just 0.15% of the global fixed income market.

We are putting forward recommendations to accelerate the conversion of much of the financial system's US$300 trillion of assets - held by banks, the capital markets and institutional investors - into sustainable financial flows," said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. "The money isn't the problem, it's where we put it."

2016 has also been marked by major moves at the national and international levels:

  • G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors have, for the first time, agreed to scale up green finance.
  • In China, President Xi and the State Council have issued guidelines to green the financial system.
  • The European Commission has just announced it will develop a comprehensive European strategy on green finance.
  • In India, new guidelines have been introduced to promote the expansion of the green bond market.
  • In Kenya, leadership on mobile banking is providing the basis for expanding access to renewable energy.

Despite the promising trend, UN Environment emphasized the need for stronger and faster action. Globally, US$5-7 trillion a year is needed to finance the Sustainable Development Goals. China alone has a stated aim of raising US$1.5 trillion for financing green projects through to 2020; 85% of this will have to come from private finance.

UN Environment has set out five ambitious yet practical proposals that could bring the financial system into alignment with sustainable development and climate imperatives:

  • Embed sustainability into long-term national plans for financial reform.
  • Channel fintech developments to align finance with sustainable development.
  • Use public finance for direct impact and to pioneer new markets, rules and practices.
  • Ensure that policymakers and professionals understand the imperatives and risks.
  • Develop common approaches to integrating sustainability into definitions, tools and standards.

The Momentum to Transformation report also sets out an initial performance framework for measuring progress towards a sustainable financial system across different countries. This tracks the policies and regulations in place, the market response and the flows of sustainable finance.

Nick Robins, co-director of UN Environment's Inquiry, said: "Key data about the performance of the financial system and sustainable development is still lacking. This is holding back financial institutions from reallocating capital and financial policymakers from putting in place the necessary market frameworks. It's why developing a set of shared indicators and standards is so critical."

The report also pays specific attention to financial technology (fintech), which offers significant potential to scale up funding for sustainable development. Through advances in digital technologies - such as artificial intelligence and blockchain - tomorrow's financial system could be far more efficient in mobilizing green finance, but that action is needed now to shape the direction of fintech.

Simon Zadek, co-director of UN Environment's Inquiry, said: "The overlap between environment and finance is more obvious than ever. The solutions that fintech promises could not only revolutionize the financial sector but bolster global efforts to safeguard our environment."

NOTES TO EDITORS

To arrange interviews, please contact:

Marc Lopatin, Communications Lead, UN Environment's Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System +44 (0) 7739 186640, marc.lopatin@unep.org

UNEP Newsdesk (Nairobi), +254 715 876 185, unepnewsdesk@unep.org

About UN Environment's Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System

The Inquiry is the premier international platform for advancing national and international efforts to shift the trillions required for delivering an inclusive, green economy through the transformation of the global financial system. Since launching in 2014, the Inquiry has worked with more than twenty countries on national processes, published around 90 reports and working papers and serves as the Secretariat for the G20's Green Finance Study Group. Its landmark 2015 report "The Financial System We Need" revealed for the first time the "quiet revolution" already taking place, led particularly by some developing countries, and its potential to renew the purpose of the financial system in the context of sustainable development.

Don’t Forget about the Finance

On the eve of Climate Week, we publish a short report about how policymakers can accelerate the availability of financial flows to fund sustainable development.

Entitled: Financing Sustainable Development: Moving from Momentum to Transformation in a Time of Turmoil, we cite an ever-increasing number of attempts being made to meet the trillion dollar funding requirements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.

While we see the existing response by institutional investors, central banks and financial regulators accelerating, today’s pace of innovation will fall short of refocusing finance on the needs of the real economy as it transitions to sustainable development.

Incoming President of the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Peter Thomson, who provided a foreword for the Inquiry’s report, said: “We have to be creative in mobilising finance from every possible source and ambitious in exploring how to work together in aligning our global financial system with sustainable development.”

The report says taking current momentum of financial market innovation to the next stage can address major gaps in SDG funding such as how to provide private capital for sustainable agriculture, forests, coastal regions and the oceans.

G20 Leaders Welcome “Green Finance” in Summit Communiqué

World leaders meeting at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China today issued a Communiqué recognising the importance of scaling up green finance. It welcomed options put forward by the G20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) that is mandated to develop voluntary proposals for scaling up private capital for green investment.

This is the first time that G20 leaders have referenced the importance of green finance in the summit’s annual Communiqué. At the initiative of the Chinese G20 presidency, the G20 established the GFSG, co-chaired by China and the United Kingdom with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as secretariat.

The G20 Leaders Communiqué states that: “We recognize that, in order to support environmentally sustainable growth globally, it is necessary to scale up green financing. The development of green finance faces a number of challenges, including, among others, difficulties in internalizing environmental externalities, maturity mismatch, lack of clarity in green definitions, information asymmetry and inadequate analytical capacity, but many of these challenges can be addressed by options developed in collaboration with the private sector. We welcome the G20 Green Finance Synthesis Report submitted by the Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) and the voluntary options developed by the GFSG to enhance the ability of the financial system to mobilize private capital for green investment. We believe efforts could be made to provide clear strategic policy signals and frameworks, promote voluntary principles for green finance, expand learning networks for capacity building, support the development of local green bond markets, promote international collaboration to facilitate cross-border investment in green bonds, encourage and facilitate knowledge sharing on environmental and financial risks, and improve the measurement of green finance activities and their impacts.”

Welcoming the Communiqué, Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the People’s Bank of China, representing the GFSG co-chair said: “The global financial system has a major role to play in mobilizing private capital for investments in green sectors, and appropriate incentives should to be given to green investment.”

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, representing the UK and GFSG co-chair, said: “The adverse effects of climate change threaten economic resilience, growth and financial stability. Given the scale of the investment capital needed, financial markets are best placed to finance the transition to a low carbon economy. So the work of the Green Finance Study Group is critical in identifying options to address institutional and market barriers to bringing green finance into the mainstream.”

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said: “The G20 is a leader on bringing together the goals of economic performance and environmental preservation, thanks in large part to China’s presidency. Green finance is vital to a green future, and we at UN Environment are proud to build on our work in this area in supporting the G20.”

Alongside the Communiqué, G20 members also released a Green Finance Synthesis Report that examines the necessity and challenges of developing green finance. It provides seven options that could be adopted by countries and market actors, and that could support international cooperation in mobilising green finance overcome these challenges including: promoting international collaboration to facilitate cross-border investment in green bonds, and facilitating knowledge sharing on environmental and financial risks.

*UN Environment’s Inquiry is delighted to host the new G20 Green Finance Study Group Document Repository where you can the download the full Communiqué, Synthesis Report and a selection on input papers.

Ant Financial and UN Environment Sign a Memorandum of Understanding

Hangzhou, China, 5 September 2016 – Ant Financial Services Group (Ant Financial), China’s leading online and mobile financial services provider, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), announcing that the two parties will work together to promote sustainable development.

Eric Jing, President of Ant Financial, and Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UNEP, attended the signing ceremony. According to the MoU, the two parties will together explore the role financial technology can play in addressing challenges facing sustainable finance and increasing the public’s awareness of sustainable development and a green lifestyle. The two parties will collaborate in building, and potentially co-chairing an international alliance of leading fintech companies focused on sustainable development.

“UN Environment is honoured to partner with Ant Financial, to engage with small and media-sized enterprises and individuals, to raise awareness of green finance, and to make it an integral part of daily life,” Solheim said “UN Environment sees in our partnership with Ant Financial the opportunity to shape the wave of new technologies and financial businesses that will drive tomorrow’s global financial system, supporting individuals, businesses and policy in aligning it with sustainable development.”

“Ant Financial is a strong believer in green finance. Several of our products and services have been contributing to sustainable development. Leveraging mobile Internet, cloud computing and Big Data, we can encourage our hundreds of millions of users to participate in a green lifestyle,” said Eric Jing, President of Ant Financial.

Ant Financial is working with UNEP's Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System, in conducting problem-solving field research in areas such as energy efficiency financing. Ant Financial will formally join the UNEP Finance Initiative (FI) as a signatory member, pledging to promote sustainable finance. Set up in 1992, UNEP FI has over 200 financial institutional members globally.

Ant Financial has long been committed to various green initiatives and in advancing green finance. It has recently launched a feature within its Alipay app, in the aim of increasing public awareness of sustainable development. Users keep a carbon credit account and gain credit through emission reduction activities like walking, taking the bus, paying utility bills, or purchasing movie tickets online. Alipay worked with the China Beijing Environmental Exchange to develop the carbon credit measurement system. When the user's carbon credit reaches a certain level, the environment protection agencies working with Alipay will plant a tree in their name in Inner Mongolia. Ant Financial is currently working with Taiping Life Insurance to launch an automobile insurance product, which is designed to rebate the car owner the daily insurance fee for the days the car is not used.

About Ant Financial

Ant Financial Services Group is focused on serving small and medium enterprises as well as individuals. With the vision “bring small and beautiful changes to the world,” Ant Financial is dedicated to building an open ecosystem of Internet thinking and technologies while working with other financial institutions to support the future financial needs of society. Businesses operated by Ant Financial Services Group include Alipay, Ant Fortune, Zhima Credit and MYbank.

Media Enquiries

Anna Wang

Ant Financial

Mobile: +86 186 5017 5983

E-mail: anna.wan@alipay.com

About UNEP Inquiry

The United Nations Environment Programme Inquiry project was established in January 2014, with a mandate to advance options that would improve the effectiveness of the financial system in supporting sustainable development.

Based on emerging practice, there are two broad strategies:

  • mobilising finance for specific priorities in terms of financial inclusion, infrastructure finance and funding for innovation; and
  • mainstreaming sustainable development factors into financial decision-making in terms of market integrity, risk & resilience as well as responsibility and reporting.

For more information on the work of UN Environment's Inquiry:

Mahenau Agha, Head of Outreach: +41 79-105-3614http://unepinquiry.org

On Eve of G20 Summit, China Puts Green Finance at the Fore

Ahead of the G20 leaders summit this weekend in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, China’s State Council approved a set of guidelines described as an essential next step for implementing the country’s strategy for “ecological civilization”.

The decision accelerates China’s existing policy of greening its financial sector. “Guidelines on Establishing the Green Financial System” was issued by on 31st August by seven government agencies. These included the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) with which UN Environment co-convened China’s original Green Finance Taskforce in 2014/15. In addition, UN Environment is working with the PBoC and the Bank of England, which are co-chairs of the G20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG).

Incoming President of UN General Assembly Puts Financing for Sustainable Development Center Stage

Ambassador Peter Thomson, President-elect of the United National General Assembly, has signaled that unlocking finance for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a key challenge of our times.

At a meeting in New York convened by the UN Environment Inquiry and UN Women on 24 August, Ambassador Thomson – currently Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN – declared that it was not enough to just wish there was adequate sums of public finance, or wonder why large amounts of private finance are so hard to attract to the right investments.

Opening the meeting he said: “Implementing the SDGs will not be possible without adequate financing. We have to be creative in mobilizing finance from every possible source and ambitious in exploring how to work together in aligning our global financial system with sustainable development.”

Given between US$5-7 trillion a year is needed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, Ambassador Thomson said the stakes were high and the transition to a sustainable low-carbon green economy was required in order to realign the world’s financial system to make it the enabler of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Presentations at the meeting were made by People’s Bank of China’s Research Bureau Chief Economist, Ma Jun, President of the Brazilian Federation of Bankers, Murilo Portugal, CalPERS Investment Director, Anne Simpson, and the United Kingdom Treasury’s Deputy Director of Global Financial Markets, Robert Ward.

During the meeting, Yannick Glemarec, Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women and co-chair of the meeting stated, “UN Women is deeply committed to addressing the gender gap in access to finance in order to ensure that new financial solutions benefit women and men equally in support of sustainable development.”

Following the meeting Simon Zadek, co-director of the Inquiry, said: “With less than a month to go before the 71st session of the General Assembly, it is extremely positive that the incoming President is willing to take a leadership position around financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

United Nations Environment Programme Inquiry

The Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System was established in January 2014 with a mandate to advance policy options that would improve the effectiveness of the financial system in supporting sustainable development. In the course of September 2016, the Inquiry will be supporting the G20 Green Finance Study Group - for which it acts as Secretariat - as well publishing a report about financing for Sustainable Development ahead of the 71st session of the General Assembly. And in late September, the Inquiry will publish its follow-up global report looking at progress being made to align the financial system with Sustainable Development. The Inquiry's first global report, The Financial System We Need, was released in October 2015 and is available at http://unepinquiry.org/

UN Women

UN Women leads and coordinates the UN system's work on gender equality. It focuses on priority areas that are fundamental to women's equality that can unlock progress across the board. It specifically supports inter-governmental bodies to formulate policies, global standards and norms. In parallel, UN Women helps Member States implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.

For more information, please contact:

UN Environment, News & Media, +254 715 876 185, unepnewsdesk@unep.org

“Green Finance” incorporated into G20 Meeting Communiqué

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Chengdu on July 23-24 issued the final Communiqué before this year’s G20 Summit in Hangzhou emphasizing the development of green finance.

The communiqué also welcomed voluntary options developed by the G20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) for which the UNEP Inquiry acts as secretariat. This marks the first time that green finance has been incorporated into the G20 agenda.

Launched at the initiative of the Chinese G20 presidency, the GFSG is co-chaired by China and the United Kingdom. From its first meeting in January this year, the GFSG has benefited from the active participation of more than 80 participants from all G20 members, a number of invited countries and six international organizations.

The GFSG has supported the development of the G20 Green Finance Synthesis Report which was submitted to the Third Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Chengdu. The Synthesis Report comprehensively examines the necessity and challenges of developing green finance globally. It also provides seven voluntary options to overcome these challenges facing green finance development.

The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting Communiqué states that:

“We recognize that, in order to support environmentally sustainable growth globally, it is necessary to scale-up green financing. We welcome the G20 Green Finance Synthesis Report submitted by the Green Finance Study Group (GFSG), and welcome the voluntary options developed by the GFSG to enhance the ability of the financial system to mobilize private capital for green investment. In particular, we believe that efforts could be made to provide clear strategic policy signals and frameworks, promote voluntary principles for green finance, expand learning networks for capacity building, support the development of local green bond markets, promote international collaboration to facilitate cross-border investment in green bonds, encourage and facilitate knowledge sharing on environmental and financial risks, and improve the measurement of green finance activities and their impacts.”

Commenting on the report, Ma Jun, Chief Economist of the People’s Bank of China, said: “Promoting the consensus of developing green finance internationally is a key objective of the G20 GFSG. The statements in the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting Communiqué demonstrate that major countries’ financial leaders have realized the necessity and feasibility of developing green finance through various financial instruments, policies, and mechanisms.”

“The Green Finance Study Group has highlighted how important and possible it is for the private sector to work with public bodies in creating the enabling conditions to mobilize green finance,” said Michael Sheren, co-Chair, Green Finance Study Group; Senior Advisor, Bank of England.

Simon Zadek, Co-director of the UNEP Inquiry and lead for UNEP for the GFSG secretariat, said establishing and co-chairing the G20 GFSG underlines China’s global influence in green finance. “By taking green finance to the G20, China has used its presidency to inspire many countries and financial institutions around the world to take notice of the importance of this agenda,” he said.

China’s pursuit of green finance has been attracting global attention in recent years. Green credit in China now makes up 10% of the balance of total loans and the country is now home to the world’s largest green bond market. China is also one of just three countries that issued “Green Credit Definitions” and was the first country that officially released its “Green Bond Directives” and Green Bond Catalogue.

Elsewhere, countries including Brazil, Indonesia, Kenya, and Sweden are now advancing green finance plans and practices while financial centres – such as Hong Kong, London, Singapore and Switzerland – are entering a “race to the top” by viewing green finance as a source of competitiveness.

Developing Countries Show World Way Forward on Green Finance
  • Developing countries embrace green finance policies as part of wider effort to finance the real economy and meet social, economic and environmental needs
  • Green finance policies inspired by new models such as developments in fintech
  • US$5-7 trillion a year needed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals

18 July 2016 – Developing countries such as Kenya, Bangladesh and Jordan are leading the world on green finance, which is essential to meet the world’s sustainable development aspirations, according to a new report from the Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System.

Released to coincide with the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York, the report, Green Finance and Non-G20 Developing Countries, captures progress being made by 13 countries across Africa, Asia and Central America. 

Fourth Meeting of the G20 Green Finance Study Group Concludes in Xiamen

On June 21, 2016, the fourth meeting of the G20 Green Finance Study Group was held in Xiamen. The meeting was hosted by Co-chairs from the People's Bank of China and the Bank of England. Delegates from G20 countries, invited guest countries and International Organizations participated in the meeting. The delegates discussed and agreed in principle on the G20 Green Finance Synthesis Report, which would be submitted to the June G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies Xiamen Meeting. The study group will further revise and submit the Report to the July G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Chengdu Meeting.

UNEP Inquiry co-director Simon Zadek gave the following remarks at the G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting in Xiamen.

"Let me start by thanking the Chinese Presidency on behalf of UNEP for your gracious hosting of us in this sunny and beautiful part of China.

Also I would like to congratulate China for its insight in establishing the Green Finance Study Group as an innovative development under its G20 Presidency, which UNEP has had the honour to support.

Much progress has been made on two fronts since the GFSG was launched just five months ago on 26 January in Beijing. First, the GFSG itself, as you have heard from the co-Chairs, has been extraordinarily productive, with its extensive stocktaking and arising options summarised in a single, short paper, the summary of which you have before you.

Second, the topic of green finance itself is becoming widely discussed and acted on, in significant part because of the leadership of the G20 on the topic, and the broad engagement with private and public actors by the GFSG over the last months.

  • Other G20 and related green finance work discussions and streams have been established, for example in the Infrastructure and Investment Working Group, and also in the B20, the T20 and the C20.
  • Several G20 members are advancing country and regional green finance initiatives, including the City of London’s green finance initiative, Italy’s green finance initiative, and Indonesia’s sustainable finance roadmap and championing of an ASEAN initiative.
  • International cooperation in green finance is growing, often through collaborative initiatives involving governments and banks, institutional investors and the insurance sectors.

UNEP is one of a number of international organizations committed to and deeply involved in the implementation of two landmark agreements in 2015, on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement.

  • Financing is a major aspect of implementation, and private as well as public finance has a key role to play. Green finance is one keystone of financing sustainable development, including broader impacts on economic development and inclusive growth.
  • There is no doubt that the G20’s leadership on green finance is already, and can be expected to increasingly support national and international action in implementing the SDGs and climate-related plans.

UNEP would therefore commend China, the GFSG co-Chairs and the G20 in advancing this agenda.

Thank you."

New Report Shows How India Can Scale up Sustainable Finance

Mumbai, 29 April 2016 - India has set ambitious goals for inclusive and sustainable development, which require the mobilization of additional low-cost, long-term capital. A new report launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) shows how the country is already introducing innovative approaches to attract private capital for green assets - and outlines a number of key steps to deepen this process in India.

The report, entitled Delivering a Sustainable Financial System in India profiles the actions that have been taken to advance environmental and social factors as a core part of India's banking, capital markets, investment and insurance sectors. It was jointly produced by FICCI and the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System, backed by a high-level India advisory council.

Green Finance Symposium Explores Financial Mechanisms to Promote Low-Carbon Global Economic Growth

Washington, D.C., 16 April 2016 – The Paulson Institute and the Green Finance Committee of China Society for Finance and Banking convened a half-day symposium of global finance leaders and experts to discuss recommendations for the development of robust global green finance mechanisms and markets. The recommendations coming out of the meetings will be provided to the G20 Green Finance Study Group, which is chaired by the People’s Bank of China and the Bank of England. The study group will finalize a synthesized report for the G20. SIFMA, Bloomberg Philanthropies and United Nations Environment Programme also co-hosted the event.

G20 Financial Leaders Commit to Exploring Green Finance Options

Shanghai, 27 February 2016 - Finance ministers and central banks governors of the G20 major economies committed today to exploring ways of greening the US$90 trillion of investments required over the next 15 years to achieve global sustainable development and climate objectives.

Under the Chinese Presidency, G20 launched the Green Finance Study Group, co-chaired by China and the UK, to mobilize private capital for green investments.

G20 Green Finance Study Group Meets for the First Time in Beijing

Beijing, 26 January 2016 – On 25-26 January 2016, the first meeting of the newly launched G20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) was held in Beijing, China. The meeting was attended by delegations from all G20 members, as well as 5 invited countries and 6 international organisations. This Study Group is co-chaired by China and the UK, with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as secretariat. 

UK Global Hub for Green Finance, New UNEP Report Says

London, 14 January 2016 - The UK is well-known as a major financial centre, but it is also a global hub in the fast-growing green finance arena, according to a new report released today by the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial system.

The report comes as policymakers and financial institutions are focusing on how to mobilize the capital required to implement Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which were agreed last year.

Climate Bonds and UNEP Inquiry Launch Green Bond Policy Report 'Scaling Green Bond Markets - Guide for the Public Sector'

Paris, 9 December 2015 - Climate Bonds and UNEP Inquiry launched tonight Scaling Green Bond Markets - Guide for the Public Sector during a COP21 Side Event at Shearman & Sterling Paris office.

The Guide is the result of a partnership between the Climate Bonds Initiative and the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System and contains a range of specific actions for policy makers in both developed and developing economies.

Gearing up to Host Climate Conference, France Emerges as Green Finance Leader

Paris, 23 November 2015 - A week before the crucial COP 21 climate conference in Paris, a new report by the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System (UNEP Inquiry) and I4CE - Institute for Climate Economics - shows how France is successfully integrating sustainability factors into its financial architecture.

The report, entitled France's Financial (Eco)system: improving the integration of sustainability factors, pinpoints the key steps taken by both public and private actors in France over the last two decades, with a focus on pioneering climate-related measures introduced this year.

Leading French and International Experts Discuss Financial Innovation for Sustainability in France

Paris, 4 November 2015 - I4CE - Institute for Climate Economics and UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System fostered a discussion on the steps taken - and the challenges and opportunities ahead - to build a sustainable financial system. The event presented the conclusions of the recently published UNEP Inquiry global report "The Financial System We Need" followed by the presentation of the case study on France written by I4CE.