West African Sustainable Finance UNEP Event

July 15, 2008

Over 90 financial service executives from West Africa gathered in Lagos to celebrate the new financial successes that the region has enjoyed over the past few years in an event hosted by UNEP FI’s African Task Force (ATF) and Citigroup, and co-sponsored by Oceanic Bank and Bank of Industry. The involvement of bankers, asset managers, government officials and academics from West Africa was critical in exploring the latest global developments in sustainable finance.

Participants gathered to welcome five Nigerian financial institutions as the newest UNEP FI Signatories: UBA Foundation, Oceanic Bank, Bank of Industry, Zenith Bank and Fidelity Bank. Roundtable discussions focused on climate change, carbon finance and the CDM in Africa, and environmental and social credit risk management. In addition, the results of a UNEP FI study on the barriers and drivers to commercial microfinance in Africa were released, along with case studies on innovative financing mechanisms for sustainable small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


Arguments for both voluntary and mandatory standards for sustainability reporting

October 17, 2006

This new KPMG and UNEP report provides a balanced consideration of voluntary and mandatory approaches to sustainability reporting. A key proposition in the report is that the voluntary versus mandatory debate does not imply an “either / or” position, but rather finding a balance between regulation in certain high risk or high impact areas, and allowing industry associations or individual companies to make decisions in other areas.

Overview and analysis of current trends and approaches in mandatory and voluntary standards for sustainability reporting

UNEP; KPMG Global Sustainability Services / UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) , 2006

This report provides an overview and analysis of current trends and approaches in mandatory and voluntary standards for sustainability reporting. It summarises arguments in favour of both voluntary and mandatory approaches, and suggests key considerations for public and private sector decision-makers in addressing different regulatory approaches and possible policy mixes. It also provides a listing of reporting and related standards in mainly OECD countries, including the European Union (EU), as well as the emerging market economies of Brazil, India and South Africa.

Arguments in favour of voluntary standards include:

  • sustainability reporting is young and evolving and will therefore require time to mature. Mandatory standards will stifle innovation and not ensure moral buy-in
  • public regulators are often not acquainted with company or industry issues or might avoid difficult issues for political reasons

Arguments in favour of mandatory standards include:

  • not enough companies are taking up voluntary approaches, that the use of regulated guidelines and codes can add to the credibility of reports and help ensure a minimum level of disclosure
  • voluntary reports tend not to disclose negative information, and that mandatory reporting will ensure the development of a central and comparable source of data for use by investors and other stakeholders

UNEP FI Sustainability Workshop in Mumbai, India

October 13, 2006

This promises to be an exciting event in consideration of the significant finance opportunities in India. Robert Tacon is an eloquent speaker on the subject of risk management and I anticipate this will be a highly insightful event.


UNEP FI Workshop: Mainstreaming Sustainability in Indian FIs
5 December 2006, Mumbai, India

Organised by the Outreach Group of the Asia Pacific Task Force, in close collaboration with UNEP FI Signatory YES BANK, the workshop is targeted at senior-level executives of Indian financial institutions.

The event will focus on sustainable finance and reporting. A CEO Luncheon ill be held in parallel, aiming to sensitise senior management on India’s sustainability challenge and the risks and opportunities faced by the financial sector. Speakers will include UNEP FI Head Paul Clements-Hunt, Robert Tacon, Head of Risk Reporting at Standard Chartered, Bart Jan Krouwel, Head of Sustainable Developments Department at Rabobank and Toshiro Nishizawa, Deputy Director General at Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC).

This is the first such event to be organised by UNEP FI in the country.

For further information, please visit:
Contact: ap@unepfi.org

World’s largest Investment Companies report on the importance of Environmental and Social Governance

July 16, 2006

FOURTEEN of the world’s largest investment companies today launch a ground-breaking report for the United Nations Environment Programme Financial Initiative (UNEP FI). The report Show Me The Moneyconfirms the growing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns to the global investment industry.

The report  states that, there is a growing worldwide understanding of the pivotal role the investment community and capital market actors have to play in addressing critical ESG challenges. At the same time, the mainstream investment community is waking to the burgeoning opportunities associated with sustainability promoting companies, technologies and investment funds. From clean-tech, to renewables and ecosystem services, the growth industries of the 21st century are emerging at an accelerated pace.

The Key Findings are:

  1. ESG issues are material – there is robust evidence that ESG issues affect shareholder value in both the short and long term.
  2. The impact of ESG issues on share price can be valued and quantified.
  3. Key material ESG issues are becoming apparent, and their importance can vary between sectors.

Show Me The Money” draws on work by a group of leading financial institutions* and covers the impact of qualitative and new risk issues on company value. Industries covered include the auto-industry, aerospace and defense, the media, and the food and beverage industries. UNEP FI is a unique public-private partnership between UNEP and more than 160 banks, insurers and asset managers.

*Participating institutions include: ABN Amro Real Corretora, CM-CIC securities, Deutsche Bank AG/London, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Securities Limited, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, JP Morgan Securities Ltd, Merrill Lynch Global Securities Research & Economics Group, Morgan Stanley & Co. International Limited, UBS Limited and WestL AG.