13 Dec 2017 Press release

Frankfurt, Geneva, Shenzhen, Toronto and Zurich join International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability

As world leaders gather in Paris for the One Planet Summit, hosted by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, five new cities – Frankfurt, Geneva, Shenzhen, Toronto and Zurich – have joined the International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability.

Mobilizing the world’s financial centres will be essential to make progress on climate change and sustainable development, and the latest cities to join add momentum to this process.

Launched in Casablanca on 28 September 2017, founding members of the network include Astana, Casablanca, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris, Qatar, Shanghai and Stockholm. All have committed to harness their financial expertise to drive action on climate change and sustainable development. Financial centre leaders are gathering in Paris to outline practical ways that they can work together.

Financial centres are key locations in the economy where banking, investment and insurance markets are concentrated. This clustering of expertise and resources can also help to scale up the finance required to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

2017 has been marked by positive signs of progress. Issuance of green bonds exceeded US$100bn for the first time; the total for 2016 was US$82bn. A growing number of countries and regions are taking strategic action to promote sustainable finance, notably China, EU, Italy, Morocco and Singapore. According to a new report released today by UN Environment, Accelerating Financial Sector Action on Sustainable Development, more than 20 financial centres are now active in green and sustainable finance.

Francesco La Camera, Director General of Italy’s Ministry of Environment said: “Italy placed the role of financial centres on the agenda during its 2017 G7 presidency. We’re delighted to see the membership of this G7-inspired network expand and look forward to hosting the inaugural meeting in Milan in April 2018.”

Kristina Jeromin, Head of Group Sustainability at Deutsche Börse and member of the Steering Committee of the Hub for Sustainable Finance Germany, said: “In order to drive sustainable finance forward, it is crucial to encourage a broad and profound dialogue and to pool resources. We are very much looking forward to contributing to the network with the experience gained from our Accelerating Sustainable Finance initiative, which we started within the financial community of Frankfurt this year.”

Pierre Maudet, Minister in charge of security and economic affairs at the Canton of Geneva, said: “Geneva is conscious that the world is changing and finance needs to be innovative in its response to social and environmental challenges. Only collective intelligence can accelerate the transition to sustainable finance. The Canton of Geneva supports the international initiative for a Network of Financial Centers for Sustainability.”

Chuanwei Liu, Deputy Director of Shenzhen Branch of People’s Bank of China and Deputy Secretary-General of the Shenzhen Green Finance Committee (SZ GFC) said: “With the establishment of the SZ GFC platform in June this year, which involves 12 different governmental bodies, and the announcement of its Green Finance Action Plan, Shenzhen is fully ready to kick off its green finance projects and fulfill its ambition to work with international green finance centers.”

Jennifer Reynolds, CEO of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance said: “Demand for green finance and responsible investment is growing strongly – and Toronto wants to strengthen its position as the location of choice for North America.”

Benno Seiler, Head of Economic Development at City of Zurich said: “Sustainability has become increasingly important in different segments of the financial centre Zurich. We are joining the network in order to contribute to this global mega-trend.”

As host of the meeting which launched the Network, Said Ibrahimi, CEO of the Casablanca Finance City Authority said: “As a leading African financial centre and one of the initiators of the network for sustainability, CFCA is strongly committed to strengthening green finance in Africa, which has today the greatest potential to make massive leapfrogs in sustainable development.”

Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova and chair of Paris’ Finance for Tomorrow initiative, said:Two years after the finalisation of the Paris Agreement, it’s clear that financial centres are becoming key places for mobilising action. Those who cooperate most will benefit most.”

The new Network is open to all financial centres and its objective is to “exchange experience and take common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance”. It will do this by raising awareness, strengthening market practice and promoting market expansion. It will also share experience on financial innovation, building capacity and engaging in dialogue with policymakers.

The Network is convened by UN Environment. Nick Robins, Co-Director of the UN Environment Inquiry, said: “Leading financial centres are now showing how they can contribute to making the green transition cheaper, faster and smoother.”

The Network’s inaugural meeting will be in Milan on 12-13 April 2018.

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.

- The Casablanca statement on financial centres for sustainability can be found here.

- The new UN Environment report, Accelerating Financial Centre Action for Sustainable Development, 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. Established in January 2014, it published the first edition of ‘The Financial System We Need’ in October 2015, with the third edition launched in November 2017. The Inquiry has worked in over 20 countries and produced a wide array of briefings and reports on sustainable finance. It is secretariat for the G20 Green Finance Study Group as well as the Sustainable Insurance Forum of regulators. More information is available at: www.unep.org/inquiry and www.unepinquiry.org

 
For more information and to arrange interviews, contact:

Mahenau Agha, Director of Outreach, Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System     
+41 79 105 3614, mahenau.agha@unep.org