Luxembourg, UN Environment sign deal to accelerate Sustainable Finance

Washington D.C., 12 April 2019 –Luxembourg today signed an agreement to back a UN Environment-convened network that helps the world’s major financial centres to increase green and sustainable finance.

The International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) has 22 members from Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America – each of them committed to shifting their investments to support the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.

Home to Europe’s largest investment fund center with a 62 per cent global market share in cross-border funds, along with136 international banks from 29 countries and over 35,000 listed tradable securities, Luxembourg is today one of the world’s leading financial centers.

“A recognized European leader in green and sustainable finance, Luxembourg is stepping up its commitment to support the efforts of the International Network of Financial Centers for Sustainability,” said Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance of Luxembourg, as he signed the agreement to provide USD 500,000 in funding to FC4S. “This commitment is aimed at helping the FC4S to better connect financial centers, to foster exchange of knowledge and thus help shaping the trends and developments that will define sustainable finance in the years to come.”The levels of green and sustainable finance needed to deliver on the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development goals are still insufficient. For example, the World Resources Institute estimates that USD 5.7 trillion will need to be invested annually in green infrastructure by 2020. However, 2018 research by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change found that climate finance, while growing, had hit only USD 681 billion annually by 2016.

“Much of the resources needed to finance the transition to a low-emission, sustainable world will have to come from private sources,” said Satya S. Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and head of UN Environment’s New York office. “This is why the work of FC4S, helping financial centres to green their flows, is crucial. UN Environment is very grateful to Luxembourg for increasing its commitment to green and sustainable finance.”

Luxembourg’s commitment to financial innovation and sustainable finance has led to the launch of a wide range of initiatives, including the first Stock Exchange dedicated to green, socially responsible and sustainable securities: The Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX) in 2016.

The LGX has the largest market share of listed green bonds worldwide. Luxembourg leads the European market when it comes to responsible investment funds, with a market share of 39 per cent. 69 per cent of worldwide assets in microfinance investment vehicles are Luxembourg domiciled funds.

“Financial centres are key pressure points in the global financial system, and FC4S members like Luxembourg are pressing hard to make the system sustainable,” said Stephen Nolan, head of the FC4S network. “This contribution from Luxembourg is yet another sign that the smart money is getting behind sustainability.”

The signing took place at an event during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, at which Mr. Gramegna, John Berrigan, Deputy Director-General, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA), and Marcos Ayerra, Chair of the Inter-American Regional Committee and others looked at how to increase the role of financial centres in financing sustainability.

The World’s Financial Centers are ramping up activity on Green and Sustainable Finance – linking Market Practice to Policy Targets

The UN Environment convened Financial Centers for Sustainability (FC4S) Network has today published a report which has for the first time measured the contribution of financial centres to sustainable development and the ongoing low-carbon transition.The 2019 State of Play report also identifies key challenges facing this growing sector.

Over the past three years, sustainable finance has become a mainstream aspect of financial market growth and innovation around the world – as evinced by growth in issuance of green bonds, proliferation of sustainable investment products, increasing volume of assets managed according to increasingly stringent sustainability criteria, new green banking and insurance offerings, and a step-change in disclosure and reporting of environmental information – including climate risks.

Established in September 2017, the FC4S Network provides a platform for financial centres to exchange experience and develop practical collaboration for the growth of green and sustainable finance. As of March 2019, the Network has seen a doubling in membership since its launch, attracting 22 financial centers as members from across Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.

In 2018, supported by EU EIT Climate-KIC the FC4S Network established an Assessment Programme to track the progress of financial centre efforts to support the expansion of green and sustainable finance markets, and explore different ways of measuring the contribution of financial centres to sustainable development and the low-carbon transition.
The FC4S report findings were released in Brussels today during the European Commission’s High-Level Conference on Sustainable Finance, a key gathering of over 600 political, regulatory, policy and market actors to celebrate the one-year launch anniversary of the EU’s Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth.

Commenting, FC4S co-chair Pierre Ducret, Board member Paris Finance for Tomorrow, said: This report illustrates that financial centres have a critical role to play in accelerating the transition towards a sustainable financial system. FC4S is committed to helping them by supporting and assessing their initiatives and achievements, measuring their progress, and mobilising necessary skillsets. The network will also contribute to connect actions in Financial centres with global policy initiatives, such as that led by the European Commission.”

Results of the pilot Assessment Programme survey illustrate that:

New forms of public private partnership: Nearly two-thirds of financial centre initiatives on green and sustainable finance are partnerships between the private and public sectors, giving them unique ability to link policy and practice.

There are material barriers to growth: The top three barriers faced by financial centres are i) a lack of green financial products, ii) inconsistent standards and iii) insufficient market demand. Lack of a shared language for green and sustainable finance is a key constraint, highlighting the need for continued dialogue between public and private stakeholders on taxonomies.

Financial centres are going beyond climate: Climate change continues to be a major focus for activities branded as “sustainable” but FC4S members recognize need to broaden their offering to include other environmental priorities (e.g. circular economy, natural capital and conservation finance) as well as social themes, such as financial inclusion and social impact investing

Policy innovation is a key driver: New policy initiatives and action by financial regulators and supervisors is a key driver in half the financial centres, with system-wide initiatives and debt capital markets the most cited examples. In a quarter of centres, policy and regulation is touching upon equity and debt capital markets, insurance, investment, banking and system-wide action.

New instruments are proliferating: Over 75% of financial centres noted the presence of different debt instruments related to green and/or sustainable finance – primarily green bonds. Equity instruments are on the rise, with 25 % of respondents noting the presence of structured products, closed ended funds, and discretionary mandates.

Progress varies across sectors: Investment and asset management is the most mature sector with respect to green and sustainable finance in most centres, while green banking is evolving, and insurance has the furthest to go.

Professional services are growing rapidly: Over 75% of respondents acknowledged the presence of sustainable rating services and consulting firms; other services (sustainability research, labelling, legal, clean techs and carbon trading) are present in select financial centres.

Shared priorities for Future Action: Leading financial centres have identified further product development, improved data collection and better market standards as top priorities for further development.

Focus on Innovation: Applying financial technology (fintech) solutions to sustainable finance challenges is a major focus for financial centres, with several FC4S members establishing specific projects aimed at fostering innovation – including accelerator programmes.

Increasing international collaboration: FC4S member centres are working more closely together on sustainable finance, including through bilateral projects. More and more centres are seeking to join the FC4S Network to benefit from collaboration opportunities.

Commenting, FC4S co-chair Kong Wei, Convener, Shanghai Lujiazui Financial City Green Finance Development Committee, said: “This assessment provides highly valuable insights into the scale and purpose of sustainable and green finance activity in our member’s centres. There have been tremendously positive strides taken but much remains to be done. This year the FC4S Network will revise the Assessment Programme methodology to target more complex and diversified questions relating to green and sustainable finance – and start to build the necessary data history to measure progress over time.”

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President European Commission, said: “Global financial centres can help scale up sustainable finance and mobilise international investors towards sustainable investments across the globe. I welcome the first report of the UN Financial Centres For Sustainability (FC4S) Network, which for the first time assesses the contribution of financial centres to sustainable development. We need to build global cooperation to coordinate an international approach to sustainable finance that avoids fragmentation and greenwashing.”

FC4S welcomes new member Nairobi and announces the development of a dedicated African platform

Nairobi, 14 March 2019 –Africa is responsible for only 4% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, yet 65% of the population of the continent is considered to be directly impacted by climate change.

To help change that story, the international network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S), launched at the G7 and hosted by UN Environment, on March 14th, welcomed Nairobi as its 22nd member and announced the development of a dedicated FC4S regional programme for Africa.

FC4S made the announcement during the 14th March One Planet Summit in Nairobi, a key gathering of nations and leaders to discuss climate change and its solutions, featuring French President Emmanuel Macron and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The summit included representatives of the finance and business sectors, local governments, civil society, and youth. Recognising that a dramatic acceleration in climate financing is required, it tackled two main issues: promoting renewable energy and fostering resilience, adaptation and biodiversity.

This first regional edition of the One Planet Summit focused on the unique role of Africa as a global partner facing both challenges and opportunities, and the FC4S announcement represented a significant and positive step in that process.

Launched in 2017, the international FC4S Network has grown rapidly into a global group of 22 leading hubs since its creation during Italy’s G7 Presidency. FC4S Africa is the third regional platform under development with Asian and European platforms launched in Q4 2018.
Structured as a partnership between international financial centres and the UN Environment Programme, which acts as its Convenor and Secretariat, members include London, Paris, Geneva, Dublin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Milan, Barcelona, Zurich, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Toronto, Astana and New York.

Pierre Ducret, Co-chair, UN Environment FC4S Network and Board member Finance for Tomorrow, Paris, said: “Financial centres across Africa are on a journey in developing their own sustainable finance agendas, just as they are in Europe and Asia. There is a need for a coordinated strategic effort, as well as technical assistance, to mainstream sustainable finance as a foundational element of financial centre strategies. The value of the FC4S membership is truly key, as the FC4S platform allows for lessons from more developed centres to be transferred to those who are at an earlier growth stage. I welcome Nairobi as our latest member.”

Kong Wei, Co-chair, UN Environment FC4S Network and Convener, Shanghai Lujiazui Financial City Green Finance Development Committee, said: “The UN Environment Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) has grown rapidly into a global group of 22 leading hubs since its creation during Italy’s G7 Presidency. Building on this at its general assembly meeting in Shanghai in October 2018, FC4S adopted an ambitious work programme that will drive green and sustainable finance worldwide – with a special focus on African countries, where needs for sustainable finance are highest. With a programme including a strong focus on capacity building and technical assistance, I welcome today’s announcement and our 22nd member Nairobi. Asia stands ready to support pan-African climate investment plans.”

Commenting, Mr. Albert Mwenda, Director General, Budget Fiscal & Economic Affairs/National Treasury, on behalf of Nairobi’s Nairobi International Financial Centre, said: “Green and Sustainable Finance is critical to the attainment of Kenya’s national strategic blueprint Vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda. We are delighted that the Nairobi International Financial Centre Authority has joined the FC4S Network. This demonstrates our commitment to further developing and promoting green and sustainable finance. The network provides a great opportunity to cooperate with leading financial centres in the acceleration of mainstreaming Environmental, Social and Governance issues in our financial system when mobilizing resources which is critical to the sustainable economic growth of all African countries, including Kenya.”

Commenting, Said Ibrahimi, CEO of Casablanca Finance City, said: “The rationale for focusing on Africa is plain – it is the continent where sustainable finance needs are the highest, and yet actual flows of finance the lowest. Barriers to sustainable finance in African countries are widely recognised, following from the work of the UNEP Inquiry and other institutions. As a founding member of FC4S, we warmly welcome Nairobi to the Network. This suggests that the creation of a regional FC4S hub in Africa will add very significant value.”

Once finalised, the FC4S Africa programme will consist of:

  • Advisory services for financial centres on sustainable finance strategies;
  • Capacity building and technical assistance;
  • Creating a regional FC4S platform for African financial centres; and
  • Ongoing outreach and communications.

Climate Bonds Initiative and FC4S Europe launch briefing paper on European Green Bond Market Development

London, 05 March 2019 – Climate Bonds Initiative and the UN Environment Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) Network today release “Green Bonds – a key tool for financial centre competitiveness: Lessons from Europe” Briefing Paper. Analysing the recent experience of European financial centres around green bonds growth, this briefing paper provides insights on how green finance can be leveraged as a core pillar of sustainable financial centres.

Supported by EU EIT Climate-KIC, this paper was developed as part of the UN Environment FC4S Network regional European platform.

Europe hosts several financial centres that together form the largest regional green bond market with a cumulative USD184.2bn worth of green bonds issued to date, with France leading issuance, followed by Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Spain.

The Paper devotes an extensive section to in-country experiences around green finance instruments, with the objective to bring clarity and convergence on definitions, taxonomies and classification system. It also identifies building skills and capacity through peer exchange as strategic action points for the FC4S Network.

The paper notes various sustainable finance initiatives already undertaken by European financial centres and makes recommendations for financial centre authorities to foster the development of green bond markets as an integral part of the sustainable finance planning including:

  • Supporting the development of guidance for green financial instruments;
  • Developing new market infrastructure;
  • Implementing best practice on disclosure around sustainable investments.

Stephen Nolan, Managing Director of UN Environment FC4S:

“As we relentlessly work to accelerate the growth of green and sustainable finance at a financial centre level, the publication of today’s report is to be welcomed. Providing a strong roadmap for further action, the UN Environment FC4S European platform looks forward to working with the Climate Bonds Initiative, our European located partners and EU EIT Climate-KIC to realise these important recommendations.”

Sara Lovisolo, Co-chair, Italian Financial Centre for Sustainability, Italian Observatory on Sustainable Finance (OIFS):

“Sustainable financial centres, as platforms for collaboration, can bring additionality to green bond markets by removing barriers to issuance in green format and creating a strong link between financial markets and public policy targets. We welcome the recommendations of this report, which align with the mission of the Italian Observatory on Sustainable Finance.”

Sean Kidney, CEO of Climate Bonds Initiative:

“The sustainable finance centres of the future will include large green bond segments and be hubs for green investment markets and innovation around climate finance. The report’s recommendations provide a basis for European financial centres making this much needed shift and reflects the significant role of the UN Environment FC4S Network in facilitating this process.”

Notes for Journalists
About the “Green Bonds – a key tool for financial centre competitiveness: Lessons from Europe” Briefing Paper: The document can be downloaded here

About Climate Bonds Initiative: The Climate Bonds Initiative is an investor-focused not-for-profit, promoting large-scale investment in the low-carbon economy.  It undertakes advocacy and outreach to inform and stimulate green bond markets, provides policy models and government advice, international development programs, market data and analysis and administers the Standards & Certification Scheme. For more information, please visit .

About UN Environment FC4S Network: Launched in 2018, the Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) Network is structured as a partnership between international financial centres and the UN Environment Programme, which acts as its Convenor and Secretariat. The objective of the Network is to exchange experiences and take common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance. Today the Network has 22 financial centres members across Asia, Europe, North America, the Gulf and Africa. For more information, please visit www.fc4s.org.

U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance launched

New York, December 6, 2018 – Today, during the inaugural Sustainable Finance Week in New York, Bloomberg announced the formation of the U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance (USASF), convening 15 founding members to drive investment in clean energy and climate resilience projects across the U.S. The alliance will provide the resources and expertise to identify and streamline existing climate-finance initiatives, encourage greater transparency across climate-related financial risks and opportunities, and ultimately, drive more capital to sustainable investments.

Climate financing plays a significant role in the U.S’s ability to mitigate the global impact of greenhouse gas emissions and meet the goals of the landmark UN Paris Agreement. Financing allows states, cities and businesses to invest in emerging technologies and climate-related projects, encouraging successful initiatives to flourish and scale. Research indicates a sevenfold increase in global clean energy investment — $2.4T annually versus the current investment levels of $333.5B as estimated by BloombergNEF — is needed to limit the most devastating effects of climate change. USASF member organizations will work together to help direct and increase climate-related financing, simultaneously growing the U.S. economy and supporting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

USASF’s founding members include Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Citi, Crédit Agricole CIB, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Macquarie Group, Morgan Stanley, Neuberger Berman, Nuveen, S&P Global, Trillium Asset Management, and Wells Fargo. The USASF will also join the global network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) convened by the United Nations Environment Programme.

The formation of USASF follows United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ call to create a new Climate Finance Leadership Initiative supporting global mobilization of private capital.

“As a world-class city and leader in innovation, New York is a natural center for the worlds of finance and sustainability to meet and collaborate. We are excited to provide the base for the U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance and formally join the UN Environment Programme FC4S Network,” said Mary Schapiro, Vice Chair for Global Public Policy, Bloomberg LP. “Under the FC4S umbrella our U.S.-based alliance will solidify our efforts to scale private capital in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

USASF will undertake a series of actions, including:

  • Leverage New York City’s role as an international hub for green and sustainable finance and the benefits of collaboration in order to accelerate impact;
  • Support specific initiatives and projects launched by members and adding value to their green and sustainable investment and financing operations;
  • Create meeting places and synergies to boost the development of the U.S. as a sustainable finance center;
  • Produce, promote and share relevant information for the U.S. green and sustainable finance industry;
  • Develop and participate in national and international partnerships to increase the impact of green and sustainable finance.

“With the U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance joining FC4S, our network reaches real universality. Together we start a new engine to accelerate the progress of green and sustainable finance,” commented Pierre Ducret, FC4S Co-Chair and Finance For Tomorrow Board Member.

“With the U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance (USASF) joining the FC4S family, our network is truly inclusive and comprehensive now, thanks to Bloomberg taking the lead in the U.S.,” added Kong Wei, FC4S Co-Chair and Convenor of the Shanghai Lujiazui Financial City Council Green Finance Development Committee. “We look forward to building a greener, better, more peaceful, equal and sustainable society together.”

“The FC4S Network is tackling an ambitious work programme in 2019, including a global self-assessment programme for financial centres to evaluate progress on green finance goals, and a new “lab” to develop financing solutions for underserved regions. The contributions of the USASF will be invaluable for these efforts – and we look forward to engaging with global institutions in New York to leverage their expertise,” said Jeremy McDaniels, Head of Projects, FC4S Network.

In addition to the new U.S. Alliance, the FC4S Network brings together 18 other leading financial centres from across the globe. More information about the FC4S Network and a full list of all members can be found at www.fc4s.org/. Bloomberg provides the secretariat for the U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance. For more information on USASF please visit https://go.bloomberg.com/events/usasf/.

Paris and Shanghai to chair network of Financial Centres for Sustainability

Shanghai, 19 October 2018 –The world’s financial centres have taken an important step forward to scale up the financing required for climate action and sustainable development. On 8 October, the IPCC concluded that an additional 1.5% in global investment would be needed to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Mobilising the world’s financial centres will be crucial to achieve the system transition that the IPCC has recommended.

At the 2nd meeting of the global network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) in Shanghai, two co-chairs have been appointed to provide strategic leadership: Pierre Ducret, board member of the Paris-based Finance for Tomorrow initiative and Kong Wei, chair of the Shanghai Green Finance Committee. In addition, a new Wall Street Working Group on Sustainable Finance is being formed, and is considering joining the network to represent New York.

​The FC4s Network brings together nearly 20 of the world’s leading financial hubs to harness the power of place for climate action and sustainable development. Established in September 2017, it has already:

– Introduced an assessment programme to evaluate the activities undertaken by its members to accelerate flows of green and sustainable finance,

– Launched a statement calling for international convergence towards a shared language in the development of taxonomies on green and sustainable finance,

– Established regional platforms in Europe and Asia to stimulate further engagement from financial centres,

– Identified best practice across financial centres on how to expand the green bond market, and

– Promoted cooperation between financial centres on the application of fintech to climate and sustainability challenges (such as blockchain).

​Pierre Ducret from Finance for Tomorrow said: “The IPCC report has shown more clearly than ever the need to mobilise the trillions for climate and accelerating actions is a priority for France.  I’m honoured to be appointed as a co-chair of the Financial Centres for Sustainability network – and view this as a great opportunity to strengthen international cooperation at a time of great uncertainty.”

Kong Wei, convenor of the Shanghai Green Finance Committee said: “Green finance is a national priority in China to develop a cleaner and more prosperous economy. I feel privileged to take up the role of co-chair of the Network and will use this opportunity to promote practical measures that enable all financial centres to play their role in the transition that lies ahead.”

​Curtis Ravenel, Global Head of Sustainable Business & Finance, Bloomberg said: “To solve the climate challenge, we need more sustainable finance product innovation and scale across the U.S. and international capital markets. Along with the growing roster of global hubs that are part of the FC4S Network, Bloomberg is working with a number of financial institutions and others to explore the formation of a Wall Street Sustainable Finance working group to scale capital deployment aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary General, UN Environment said: “UN Environment works across the sustainability and finance agenda – and I see that the FC4S Network is having a significant impact on the international policy sphere. These moves will further consolidate the Network’s leadership role.”

Nick Robins, the founder of the FC4S network and Special Advisor on Sustainable Finance, UN Environment said: “We need financial centres to be fit for purpose in the rapid transition that lies ahead. With Pierre Ducret and Kong Wei as co-chairs, the network has the strategic leadership it needs for the next phase.”

About the FC4S Network

The FC4S is a partnership between leading financial centres and the United Nations Environment Programme, which acts as its Convenor and Secretariat. The objective of the Network is to enable financial centres to exchange experience, drive convergence, and take action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance. Following from endorsement by G7 Environment Ministers under the 2017 Italian G7 Presidency, the FC4S Network was launched in September 2017 with the support of the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land, and Sea. The Network is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Current members of the Network include:

  • Astana: Astana International Financial Centre
  • Casablanca: Casablanca Finance City Authority
  • Dublin: Sustainable Nation Ireland
  • Frankfurt: Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany
  • Geneva: Sustainable Finance Geneva
  • Hong Kong: Green Finance Task Force
  • London: City of London Green Finance Initiative
  • Luxembourg: Luxembourg for Finance
  • Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein Bankers Association
  • Milan: Centro Finanziario Italiano per la Sostenbilita (CFIS)
  • Paris: Finance for Tomorrow
  • Seoul: Seoul Metropolitan Government
  • Shanghai: Lujiazui Financial City
  • Shenzhen: Shenzhen Green Finance Committee
  • Stockholm: Stockholm Green Digital Finance
  • Toronto: Toronto Finance International
  • Zurich: Swiss Sustainable Finance

Partner organisations include:

  • Climate Bonds Initiative
  • Climate-KIC
  • Principles for Responsible Investment
  • Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative
  • UNEP Finance Initiative

The press release can be downloaded here.

The G7 Bologna Communiqué of Environment Ministers from June 2017 can be found here.

The Casablanca statement on financial centres for sustainability from September 2017 can be found here.

The UN Environment report, Accelerating Financial Centres’ Action for Sustainable Development, can be found here.​

FC4S launches statement on guiding principles for the development of taxonomies

Halifax, 18 September 2018 –A “shared language” for green and sustainable finance is critical for the growth of new markets, and for compatibility and coherence between jurisdictions, the FC4S Network – the world’s platform of leading financial centres working on sustainability – said in a joint statement released after a G7 meeting on sustainable finance in Halifax.

The Network said new definitions, standards, and classification systems for sustainable finance should be developed to avoid confusion among policy and regulatory authorities and a real risk of increasing transaction costs for financial institutions seeking to provide sustainability-related products and services.

Importantly, several processes to develop “taxonomies” for sustainable finance are currently planned, or already underway – including the establishment by the European Union of a Technical Expert Group to develop a clear classification of economic activities and sectors which can be branded as “sustainable”.

To help achieve convergence, the statement sets out ten principles including the scope, purpose, good practice, proportionality and mechanisms of the taxonomies.

The statement – launched at a high-level Roundtable meeting on the eve of the 2018 G7 Environment, Energy, and Ocean Ministers’ meeting in Halifax – represents the continuation of G7 work on sustainable finance initiated by the Italian Presidency, where cooperation among financial centres was endorsed and encouraged. The Network itself was then launched by UN Environment in Casablanca in September 2017 with a mission to exchange experience and take common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance.

Speaking at the Roundtable meeting, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said: “The transition to a sustainable global economy represents a $26 trillion economic opportunity. Financial centres play a significant role in shifting capital to sustainable investment. As host of the G7 Environment, Oceans and Energy Ministers Meeting, Canada welcomes the leadership of the Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability in developing these ten principles, which are an important step to advancing sustainable finance and shifting billions to trillions of dollars to clean investment across the globe.”

Jennifer Reynolds, President and CEO of Toronto Finance International, said: “Toronto is North America’s 2nd largest financial centre and has the opportunity to develop a leading hub for green and sustainable finance – we are proud to have been a leading contributor to the development of this statement. Clear and coherent language for sustainable finance is key if we are to move from niche to mainstream – and this statement sets out how to coordinate this evolving environment.”

Francesco La Camera, Director General for Sustainable Development and International Affairs of the Italian Ministry of Environment, said: “It is remarkable how far the FC4S Network has come since its endorsement by the G7 in Italy last year – bringing in more than ten leading international centres to shape a new agenda for public-private collaboration. We are proud to support the Network as it continues to grow.”

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment said: “UN Environment works across the sustainability and finance agenda – and I can recognize that the FC4S Network is having a significant impact on the international policy sphere. I hope G7 nations can now take these principles forward by applying them in their own domestic processes.”

Nick Robins, Senior Advisor on Sustainable Finance, said: “These ten principles are an important foundation for the technical discussions that market and policy institutions will face together – and we hope that the FC4S Network can serve as a platform for dialogue on these challenging issues.”

Notes to Editors

The FC4S Statement, “Building Shared Language for Green and Sustainable Finance”, can be found here. The Briefing accompanying the statement can be found here

About the FC4S Network

The FC4S is a partnership between leading financial centres and the United Nations Environment Programme, which acts as its Convenor and Secretariat. The objective of the Network is to enable financial centres to exchange experience, drive convergence, and take action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance. Following from endorsement by G7 Environment Ministers under the 2017 Italian G7 Presidency, the FC4S Network was launched in September 2017 with the support of the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land, and Sea. The Network is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Current members of the Network include:

  • Astana: Astana International Financial Centre
  • Casablanca: Casablanca Finance City Authority
  • Dublin: Sustainable Nation Ireland
  • Frankfurt: Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany
  • Geneva: Sustainable Finance Geneva
  • Hong Kong: Green Finance Task Force
  • London: City of London Green Finance Initiative
  • Luxembourg: Luxembourg for Finance
  • Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein Bankers Association
  • Milan: Centro Finanziario Italiano per la Sostenbilita (CFIS)
  • Paris: Finance for Tomorrow
  • Seoul: Seoul Metropolitan Government
  • Shanghai: Lujiazui Financial City
  • Shenzhen: Shenzhen Green Finance Committee
  • Stockholm: Stockholm Green Digital Finance
  • Toronto: Toronto Finance International
  • Zurich: Swiss Sustainable Finance

Partner organisations include:

  • Climate Bonds Initiative
  • Climate-KIC
  • Principles for Responsible Investment
  • Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative
  • UNEP Finance Initiative

The press release can be downloaded here.

The G7 Bologna Communiqué of Environment Ministers from June 2017 can be found here.

The Casablanca statement on financial centres for sustainability from September 2017 can be found here.

The UN Environment report, Accelerating Financial Centres’ Action for Sustainable Development, can be found here.​

About Toronto Finance International (TFI)

TFI (www.tfi.ca) is a public-private partnership between Canada’s three levels of government, the financial services sector and academia. TFI’s mission is to lead collective action that drives the competitiveness and growth of Toronto’s financial sector and establishes its prominence as a leading international financial centre. (TFI was formerly known as Toronto Financial Services Alliance.)

For more information and to arrange interviews, contact:

Jeremy McDaniels (Head of Projects, FC4S Network), at Jeremy.McDaniels@un.org.

Sonia Prashar (TFI media contact), at soniaprashar@sppublicrelations.com

Leading Finance Centres agree action plan for Green and Sustainable Finance

Milan, 13 April 2018 – For the first time, a significant number of the world’s leading financial centres have agreed a shared strategy for accelerating green and sustainable finance. The inaugural meeting of the international network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) brought together 16 member centres – Astana, Casablanca, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, Liechtenstein, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Stockholm, Toronto and Zurich – as well as a wide range of observers and partner organisations.

Sustainable finance is now recognised as one of the megatrends shaping the future of global capital markets. The FC4S Network flows from the work undertaken by Italy’s Ministry of Environment during Italy’s 2017 G7 Presidency, which endorsed and encouraged cooperation among financial centres. The Network itself was then launched in Casablanca in September 2017 with a mission to “exchange experience and take common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance”. The Network was presented at the Italian Cultural Centre during the One Planet Summit in Paris, in December 2017. So far in 2018, it has expanded its international membership and defined a three-year working strategy with the support of Italy. UN Environment is establishing the network’s secretariat in Geneva with support from Swiss public authorities at both the federal and cantonal levels, as well as from private sources in Geneva.

Italy’s Ministry of Environment and the Comune di Milano hosted the Network during its two-day meeting in Milan. At the meeting, members agreed a five-point action plan to build international cooperation among financial centres on climate action and sustainable development:

– First, to strengthen links among members, including through regional hubs for Europe, Asia and Africa. The European hub has just been launched in partnership with Climate-KIC. These hubs will involve centres in the regions as well as internationally

– Second, to develop a robust benchmarking and assessment tool to enable financial centres to evaluate their progress and inspire further action. This will build on initial work presented in 2017 by I4CE and PWC.

– Third, to develop a joint statement on the importance of effective taxonomies for green and sustainable finance. A common language is key if green and sustainable finance is to develop in a trusted and dynamic fashion across the world.

– Fourth, to share experience on green digital finance, including through testing the Green Assets Wallet, a new approach to improve efficiency and transparency in the green debt market.

– Fifth, to gather the experience of financial centres in the development of the green bond market. This resulting briefing paper will be produced together with the Climate Bonds Initiative.

The Network will also explore in more detail ways of sharing efforts to build the capacity of financial professionals in green and sustainable finance and also connecting financial centres with the green and sustainable needs of economic regions.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment said: “Financial centres are the key places in the global economy which determine where capital flows. We’re delighted to convene this network of passionate leaders”.

Arabella Caporello, City Manager of Milan said: “We’re honoured to host the inaugural meeting in our city. Local authorities are on the front line in the challenge to achieve sustainable development goals and we believe that financial centres can drive the transition to a low carbon economy and inclusive society. The City of Milan is strongly involved in boosting sustainable development and specialised financial tools are a crucial point to achieve this goal”.

Francesco La Camera, Director General for Sustainable Development and International Affairs of the Italian Ministry of Environment, said: “The Information Centre for Environment-Climate Cooperation in Africa, another issue promoted by the G7 under Italian Presidency, might be an effective partner and support to the regional African Hub of FC4S”.

Nick Robins, Co-director of the UN Environment Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System said: “The Milan meeting showed the real desire of leading financial centres to share experience and work together to make the transition to a sustainable economy cheaper, faster and smoother”.

Notes to Editors

Green finance is defined as finance that delivers environmental benefits in the context of sustainable development. Sustainable finance looks more broadly at environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in both market practice and policy frameworks for banking, capital markets, investment and insurance to deliver the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The past year has been marked by positive signs of progress in sustainable finance. Issuance of green bonds exceeded USD 155 billion in 2017, up from USD 82 billion in 2016.

Leading countries and regions are also introducing strategic roadmaps to harness their financial systems for sustainability, notably China, EU, Italy, Morocco and the UK. Canada has just established an Expert Group on Sustainable Finance.

Financial centres bring together a cross-section of different activities including banking, capital markets, insurance and investment, as well as regulation and new themes like fintech. It is this clustering effect that the Network will deploy through international cooperation for climate action and sustainable development.

The G7 Bologna Communiqué of Environment Ministers from June 2017 can be found here.

The Casablanca statement on financial centres for sustainability from September 2017 can be found here.

The UN Environment report, Accelerating Financial Centres’ Action for Sustainable Development, can be found here

The pdf version of this press release can be found here.

The Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System was launched by UN Environment to improve the financial system’s effectiveness in mobilizing capital for sustainable development. More information is available at: www.unepinquiry.org