Figueres calls for 2:1 green investment ratio for banks

Climate leader also wants Principles for Sustainable Banking

Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate negotiator and a key architect of the Paris accord, has called on banks to invest a ratio of 2:1 in favour of green investments over brown investments in order to avoid an economic cliff edge.
Figueres, who is currently the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative that seeks to ensure the world bends the curve on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, was speaking at a Regional Roundtable on Sustainable Finance in Europe, held by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI) yesterday in Geneva, as part of its 25 year celebrations.
She also urged UNEPFI to launch the Principles for Sustainable Banking to help banks achieve the target. UNEPFI, which was formed by banks and insurers in response to the Rio Earth Summit, already houses the Principles for Sustainable Insurance, and combines a global bank and insurer membership with institutional investors. Figueres said the best science indicated that 604 gigatonnes of CO2 could be addedto the atmosphere before warming levels became dangerous and could lead to serious write-downs of physically-affected assets. At a current rate of 40 gigatonnes of CO2 per annum, she said that gave a horizon of 15 years, which in reality means a ‘tipping point’ by 2020 to lead to a sloping off of emissions.
She said policymakers could not be relied on alone to tackle the problem: “There is policy out there, but it is too fragmented.” As a result, she said finance needed to do some heavy lifting out of economic self-interest.
This is the second climate challenge laid down to the private sector by Figueres in recent weeks. At the PRI in Person conference in Berlin last month, she laid down a low-carbon investment challenge to signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), calling on them to commit to putting 1% of their assets under management into clean and renewable energy by 2020. With current assets signed up to the PRI at around $70trn, that would amount to a shift of some $700bn.