UNEP convenes heavyweight advisory committee for inquiry on policy blockages to green financing

Group unveiled at Davos will work for 18 months on markets and environmental investment review.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has gathered a heavy-hitting international committee of financiers, regulators and heads of transnational organizations to examine policy options to encourage more financial market investment in the green economy in the face of continued allocation to resource and carbon intensive fossil fuels. The Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System will run for 18 months to mid-2015. It aims to guide policy makers and financial market actors on systemic problems that are causing green financing blockages in the economy and ways this might be changed for low carbon investment.
The advisory committee to the enquiry was unveiled at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland yesterday (Jan 23).
The members are:
Naina Kidwai, Group General Manager and Country Head, HSBC India
Rachel Kyte, Group Vice President of the World Bank
David Pitt-Watson, co-Chair of UNEP Finance Initiative
Atiur Rahman, Governor of the Central Bank of Bangladesh
Murilo Portugal, President of the Brazilian Bankers Federation
Neeraj Sahai, President of S&P Rating Services
Rick Samans, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum
Mallam Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria
Andrew Sheng, President of Fung Global Institute.Research released at Davos by the WEF estimates suggest that globally, investment in infrastructure of an estimated US$6 trillion annually to 2030 is needed to finance a low-carbon economy, of which $1 trillion is above planned spending targets. On a website dedicated to the Inquiry it said far too little capital was flowing into green investment, while too much continues to be invested in polluting industries: “There is clear evidence of both the urgent need to accelerate the transition, and of serious deficiencies in the stewardship role of financial markets.”
David Pitt-Watson, Co-Chair of the UNEPs Finance Initiative (UNEPFI), 200 financial institutional members of the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEPFI), said: “The world’s financial institutions are there to finance a growing, sustainable economy, but the evidence suggests that, today, the industry performs that task poorly. The Inquiry will support the urgent need to reshape a practical and agreed agenda of reform that ensures that the finance industry fulfills its purpose.” The Inquiry will be lead out of a Geneva office by two Co-Directors, Nick Robins, currently head of HSBC`s Center for Excellence in Climate Change, and Simon Zadek, ex-Chief Executive of AccountAbility and Senior Fellow of the Global Green Growth Institute and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and a Head of Strategic Outreach, Mahenau Agha, who serves as UNEP Advisor. The first Advisory Council meeting is scheduled to be held in April 2014. The Council will engage with global financial experts, commission relevant research and look at existing UN work to map best practice on green financing, It says it will then try to catalyze thinking around new principles, frameworks, and policy options for a sustainable financial system.