Shifting Gears: How the world’s leading financial centres are entering a new phase of strategic action on green and sustainable finance.

This report, published by the Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) Network, measures for the first time the contribution of financial centres to sustainable development and the ongoing low-carbon transition. It also identifies key challenges facing this growing sector.
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.

    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.

Nigeria Sustainable Finance Roadmap

This report lays out the ways in which Nigeria can unlock the investment needed to move onto a more sustainable growth trajectory that will benefit its people, its environment and the economy. It provides an analysis of sustainable finance opportunities in Nigeria out to 2030, assesses the characteristics of these opportunities, and estimates current sustainable finance flows. Based on expert interviews, it also identifies barriers to scaling sustainable finance in Nigeria and lays out options to address them.

Building Shared Language for Green and Sustainable Finance – Expert Briefing on the Development of Taxonomies

New fields of human activity need clear classification to enable participants to operate with clarity and efficiency. In science, a taxonomy deals with the description, identification, naming, and classification of different activities. The rapid growth of green and sustainable finance is now generating the development of taxonomies to underpin future expansion.

Across the world, banks, investors, insurers and stock exchanges are seeking to align their capital allocation decisions, product development, service provision and institutional strategies with new risks and opportunities associated with the transition to sustainable development. Financial centres are at the heart of this shift as they are the places where the demand and supply of capital of sustainable finance comes together. To harness the power of place that comes together in the world’s leading hubs, the network of Financial Centres for Sustainability was launched in September 2017. One of the priority issues facing the members of the network is the core question of definition and taxonomy.

Capitalizing on Sustainable Finance: A growth opportunity for Toronto’s financial sector

This report seeks to assess the opportunity for Toronto to develop a leading global hub for sustainable finance. Through our research and extensive interviews with executives from the financial sector, government, business leaders and academia, we sought to provide a practical assessment of the ambition and ability to develop a hub of excellence in the area of sustainable finance in Toronto and Canada more broadly. No doubt, there was consensus among stakeholders that there is a need for increased analysis and collaboration on this important and growing opportunity.

Swiss Sustainable Investment Market Study 2018

This is the first time Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) provides its own comprehensive market overview of sustainable investments in Switzerland. The goal of this study is to highlight the growing importance of sustainability within the Swiss financial community and to shed more light on the background and drivers for this development.

Swiss Sustainable Finance – Handbook on Sustainable Investments: Background Information and Practical Examples for Institutional Asset Owners

Institutional investors in Switzerland are showing a growing interest in sustainable investments. This goes hand in hand with a growing need for information, both among pension funds and foundations, as well as among experts from insurance companies and other institutional investors. Swiss Sustainable Finance has therefore prepared a handbook on sustainable investments for Swiss institutional asset owners.

With the target audience being pension funds, foundations, insurance companies, family offices and other institutional asset owners, the publication contains a comprehensive overview of the various available sustainable investment strategies. In addition, it contains concrete tips helpful in implementing a sustainable investment policy. It will serve to deepen the discussions with asset owners about different forms of sustainable investment strategies as well as their risks and opportunities.

The handbook contains relevant information for institutional asset owners and consists of 21 chapters, 8 case studies, a glossary, and over 30 visuals.

Accelerating Financial Centre Action on Sustainable Development

Mobilizing the world’s financial centres is essential to make progress on climate change and sustainable development. The momentum towards a sustainable financial system is clear and yet insufficient to deliver the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The world’s financial centres now have a historic opportunity to help close this gap by accelerating the expansion of green and sustainable finance. They are the places where green and sustainable financial services will need to be scaled up across banking, capital markets, fintech, insurance and investment.
This report presents the case for strategic action by financial centres and introduces the new International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability that was launched in Casablanca in September 2017.
By joining forces, the world’s leading financial centres can make a real difference – making the transition to sustainable finance cheaper, smoother and faster.

Communique from G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting

The G7 Environment Ministers and high representatives, and European Commissioners responsible for environment and climate, met in Bologna on 11-12 June 2017, and were joined by heads and senior officials of International Organizations and by representatives of universities and firms.

Financial Centres for Sustainability: Reviewing Experience and Identifying Options in the G7

This report has been prepared as part of Italy’s G7 Environment programme to explore how financial centres can contribute to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. It takes stock of the sustainability agenda that is emerging for financial centres, reviews current practice across leading centres in G7 countries and suggests priorities for further action. This report focuses on green and sustainable finance – in other words finance that delivers environmental benefits within the context of the wider transition to sustainable development.

The report finds that G7 and other countries could encourage their financial centres to develop strategies that scale up green and sustainable finance – including through international cooperation that would create “a race to the top”.