Written by:
Paul Chisnall, Director, Finance & Operations Policy, UK Finance

There are times – or so we are told – when inter-planetary movements are such that our personal lives look set to be blessed with a period of good fortune.

If, for the purposes of sustainable finance and specifically the climate change agenda, we view the G20, the Financial Stability Board, the United Nations and the European Commission as major planets, then we might just be entering a period where the prospects are good for embedding sustainability into financial decision-making.

Starting with the G20, the 11 July Hamburg Summit communiqué included a Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth committing 19 of the leading industrialised and emerging economies to measures in support of the Paris Climate Agreement.

This followed on from – and referenced – the publication on 29 June of the final report of the FSB-sponsored Task-force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures. It was accompanied on the day by a statement of support by over 100 of the world’s leading companies, many within financial services, and we have since seen the announcement by the UNEP Finance Initiative that 11 of the world’s leading banks will work together to bring the recommendations into practical effect.

Last week saw the publication of the Interim Report of the EC High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. Few, if any, attending the launch event could have been left with any impression other than Europe now plans to place sustainability at the heart of its economic-planning and policy-making process.

The interim report observes that the current international geopolitical context is “extremely propitious” for the building of a sustainable finance system before setting out a reasonably formed set of recommendations for advancing sustainability in EU policy making and a longer list of issues that remain under consideration.

The recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group are open to consultation until 20 September and early responses are encouraged.

Sustainable finance – an idea coming of age?