UN-backed sustainable finance hubs agree to develop set of common targets

FC4S has grown rapidly in the last two years.

The International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability, the United Nations-backed body known as FC4S, has agreed to set common targets by the end of 2022.

FC4S is a relatively new initiative that has grown in just two years to include 30 finance centres around the world and account for $61.3trn in equity market capitalisation. Its membership ranges from Abu Dhabi to Zurich via London, Paris, New York, Beijing etc.

“The FC4S network has now reached a critical mass”

Convened by the UN Environment Programme, the representatives from the various centres met in Geneva last week to set out a new strategy aiming to align their investments with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“At the meeting, the centres agreed to throw their full weight behind green and sustainable finance, to strengthen public-private collaboration on sustainable finance and to support coherence across markets in response to policy and regulatory developments,” they said in a statement. The aim is to agree on “key, measurable” common targets with a consultative process to be completed by late 2019 or early 2020.The FC4S also launched a regional work plan for Africa – which it says is the continent where sustainable finance needs are the highest, but flows of finance are lowest.

“The FC4S and its members can be a major driving force for positive change by directing finance to investments that shore up our planet’s ability to support human development rather than undermine it,” said Ligia Noronha, Director of UNEP’s Economy Division.

It says financial centres generate a powerful “clustering effect” by concentrating activities such as banking, capital markets, investing, insurance, professional services, as well as policy and regulation.

FC4S is backed by the governments of Switzerland, Italy and Luxembourg; its partners include the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, the Principles for Responsible Investment, the Climate Bonds Initiative and the EU’s Climate-KIC.

“The FC4S network has now reached a critical mass, and is primed to play an important role in the global sustainable finance agenda,” said Stephen Nolan, head of FC4S. The meetings had presentations from Martin Spolc, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA), and Morgan Despres, of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).