About the Inquiry

In the wake of this global financial crisis, recognition has grown that the financial system must be not only sound and stable, but also sustainable in the way it enables the transition to a low-carbon, green economy. With this in mind, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System in early 2014 to explore how to align the financial system with sustainable development, with a focus on environmental aspects.

The Inquiry has addressed 3 Core Questions:

  • Why – under what circumstances should measures be taken to ensure that the financial system takes fuller account of sustainable development?
  • What – what measures have been and might be more widely deployed to better align the financial system with sustainable development?
  • How – how can such measures best be deployed?

The Inquiry has considered aspects of financial and monetary policies and financial regulations, and standards, including disclosure requirements, credit ratings, listing requirements and indices. The Inquiry has focused on the roles of financial system’s rule-makers including central banks, financial regulators, finance ministries, other government departments, standards institutions, and market-based standard-setters such as stock exchanges, and key international organizations and platforms.

The Inquiry has explored innovative experiences in advancing sustainable development through the actions of the financial system’s governing institutions, notably central banks and financial regulators, government bodies and standard setters. Such experiences have been examined in some depth in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, the European Union, France, Kenya, India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. The Inquiry has also drawn on extensive international engagement and research on topics as diverse as green bonds, value-based banking, fiduciary responsibilities, human rights and electronic trading.

UNEP would like to thank the governments of Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for their generous support of the Inquiry into the Design of a Financial System project.

A high-level Advisory Council has guided the Inquiry, which has also drawn on UNEP’s green economy activities and its Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

The Advisory Council

Lord Adair Turner

Former Chair Financial Services Authority, UK

Lord Turner was Chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority from 2008 to 2013. He became a cross-bench member of the House of Lords in 2005 and was Chairman of the Pensions Commission and the Low Pay Commission. He is Chairman of the Climate Change Committee and of the Overseas Development Institute, and a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Cass Business School, City University.  He has served as non-executive Director at Standard Chartered Bank, United British Media and Siemens; Vice-Chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe, and Director General of the Confederation of British Industry. Most recently he has written Between Debt and the Devil: Money, Credit, and Fixing Global Finance.

Anne Stausboll

Former Chief Executive Officer CalPERS

Anne Stausboll is the former CEO of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and oversaw retirement benefits for over 1.7 million California public sector workers and an investment portfolio of approximately US$300 billion. She served as CalPERS' chief operating investment officer from 2004 through 2008. Before this she was Chief Deputy Treasurer to the California State Treasurer, and before that worked in the CalPERS legal team, including two years as Deputy General Counsel. She serves as the co-chair of the CERES Board, the US’s largest coalition of investors, environmental groups and nonprofit organizations working to address sustainability challenges. She is a member of the Advisory Council for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Financial Initiative and was a member of the working group that drafted the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.  

Kathy Bardswick

President and Chief Executive Officer The Co‑operators Group Limited

Kathy Bardswick is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Co‑operators Group Limited, a leader in the Canadian insurance industry as well as the co-operative sector. Since joining The Co-operators in 1978, she has held progressively senior roles within The Co-operators group of companies, culminating with her appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Co‑operators Group Limited in 2002. Kathy is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and serves as Chairperson of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. A leading advocate for the co-operative sector, Kathy is a member of the board of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), is a past Chair of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation, and currently serves as a member of its executive. She has provided leadership to The Conference Board of Canada as a member of the board and the executive committee, and served as Vice-Chair of the University of Guelph’s Board of Governors.

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng

Distinguished Fellow Fung Global Institute

Andrew Sheng is a Distinguished Fellow of Fung Global Institute, a Hong Kong based global think tank. He is the Chief Adviser to the China Banking Regulatory Commission and a Board Member of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia. He serves as a member of the International Advisory Council of the China Investment Corporation, the China Development Bank, the Advisory Council on Shanghai as an International Financial Centre and the International Council of the Freie University, Berlin. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing and the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and Pro-Chancellor of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak. Andrew served as Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong from 1998 to 2005, having previously been a central banker with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Bank Negara Malaysia. He also worked with the World Bank from 1989 to 1993.

Rick Samans

Managing Director World Economic Forum

Rick Samans is Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board of the World Economic Forum, overseeing the Forum’s policy and public-private partnership initiatives as well as its relations with international organizations, governments, NGOs, unions and other non-business constituencies. Most recently, Mr. Samans was Executive Director at the Global Green Growth Institute in Korea. Prior to that, he was Managing Director of the World Economic Forum. Before joining the Forum in 2001, Mr. Samans served as Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy in the U.S. White House. As Senior Director of the National Security Council’s International Economic Affairs directorate and a senior staff member of the National Economic Council, he assisted President Clinton on a broad range of international trade and financial policy matters.

Neeraj Sahai

Former President S&P Rating Services

Neeraj Sahai is the former President of Standard & Poor's Rating Services, the world's largest credit rater. Previously he was head of Citigroup's Securities and Fund Services business and also served as its Chief Fiduciary Officer. He started at the bank in 1984 and has held a variety of roles, including Chief Financial Officer of Global Transaction an head of its audit and risk review for the New York-based bank's capital markets and banking units. Mr. Sahai is a frequent speaker and author on the topics of securities and fund services outsourcing and the impact of new generation investment products.

Dr Atiur Rahman

Former Governor Central Bank of Bangladesh

Dr. Atiur Rahman is the former Governor of the Central Bank of Bangladesh. Prior to this he was a Professor of Economics in the Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Shamunnay, a centre for excellence in development research in Bangladesh. He also served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Unnayan Shamannay, a non-profit organization for research, development and cultural learning. His previous roles also include Director of Sonali Bank, the largest commercial bank in Bangladesh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Janata Bank, the second largest commercial bank in the country and a long tenure as a Senior Research Fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). For many years, Dr. Rahman also steered the Credit Development Forum (CDF) in Bangladesh as Chairman.

Murilo Portugal

President Brazilian Bankers Federation

Murilo Portugal is the President of the Brazilian Banking Federation, Febraban. Prior to that he served as the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. Before joining the IMF, he was the Deputy Minister of Finance of Brazil. He has served as an Executive Director of the IMF, representing Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Haiti, Panama, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago and as an Executive Director at the World Bank Group.He has held senior positions in Brazil, including as the Secretary of the National Treasury, in the Office of the President, and at the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning. He has also served as member of the board of the Banco do Brasil and on various corporate boards.

David Pitt-Watson

Co-Chair UNEP FI

David Pitt-Watson David is co-Chair of the UN Environment Programme's Finance Initiative. He represents Inflection Point Capital Management, the investment vehicle of green investment pioneer Matthew Kiernan. He is co-founder of Hermes "shareholder stewardship" businesses, which became the largest of any investment manager in the world. He leads the influential Tomorrow's Investor programme at the RSA which has championed better pension arrangements in the UK. He is Treasurer of Oxfam, and a board member of the International Corporate Governance Network. His early career was spent at Deloitte, where he was a partner for twelve years, ultimately running its strategy consultancy practice. For two years he was the Assistant General Secretary of the UK Labour Party, and has advised policy makers of all parties on issues of corporate governance and capital market integrity.

Dr Bruno Oberle

Adjunct Professor of Green Economy Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Bruno Oberle is Adjunct Professor of Green Economy at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). Before this, he was Director of the Federal Office for the Environment, the official Swiss body in charge of environmental policy at the national and international levels. He acted as State Secretary of Environment for Switzerland in interntional negotiations. For several years he was a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the ETH Zurich and was founder and CEO of two consulting agencies in the environmental domain.

Nicky Newton-King

Chief Executive Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Nicky Newton-King is Chief Executive Officer of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Limited. The JSE is Africa’s largest stock exchange and is ranked within the top 20 exchanges in the world. Previously she was Deputy CEO and  She was responsible for drafting a large portion of the Insider Trading Act, 1998 which is a world leader of its type of statute in that it provides for people who suffered loss as a result of insider trading to receive compensation.  She was also instrumental in developing the JSE’s Socially Responsible Investment Index, a program which helped to guide the company’s evolution and was, in fact, the very first index of its kind, at the time, in the world. Previously she was a partner in the Financial Services Unit of one of South Africa's largest legal firms, Webber Wentzel Bowens.  

John Lipsky

Former Deputy Managing Director International Monetary Fund

John Lipsky served as First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund from September 1, 2006 to August 31, 2011. Before coming to the Fund, Mr. Lipsky was Vice Chairman of the JPMorgan Investment Bank and previously Chief Economist at JPMorgan, Chase Manhattan and Salomon Brothers. Before joining Salomon Brothers in 1984, he spent a decade at the IMF, where he helped manage the Fund's exchange rate surveillance procedure and analyzed developments in international capital market. He retired from the IMF in November 2011 and is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Jean-Pierre Landau

Former Deputy Governor Banque de France

Jean-Pierre Landau has worked in the French Government and Central Bank for most of his career. He has served as Executive Director for France at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank from 1989 to 1993. He was then appointed Undersecretary for External Economic Relations  at the Ministry of Finance. He was Treasury Representative in London and Executive Director at the EBRD from 2000 to 2006. He served as Deputy Governor of the Banque de France from 2006 to 2011.He is currently at the Economic Department of Sciences Po. He has been Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson School) in 2012 and Visiting professor at SAIS (Johns Hopkins University - Washington DC) in 1992-93.

Rachel Kyte

Chief Executive Officer Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)

Rachel Kyte is Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative. Prior to this, she was World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change. She oversaw work on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and climate finance taking place across the institutions of the World Bank Group, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the International Development Association, the World Bank's fund for the poorest; the International Finance Corporation; and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency; as well as the World Bank Institute and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. She previously served as World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development and was the International Finance Corporation's Vice President for business advisory services and a member of IFC's management team.

Maria Kiwanuka

Senior advisor to the President of Uganda

Maria Kiwanuka is an economist, businesswoman and politician. She is Senior advisor to the President of Uganda on financial matters. From 2011 to 2015 she was the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. She serves as a Governor of the Islamic Development Bank, and as a Director of Uganda Development Bank, Uganda Registration Service Bureau, Uganda Communications Commission, Makerere University business school and Nkumba University. She is a Member of Board of Governors at the African Development Bank and Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank. She spent more than 10 years working with the World Bank and 14 years in private industry in Uganda.

Naina Kidwai

Chairman HSBC India

Naina Lal Kidwai is Executive Director on the board of HSBC Asia-Pacific and Chairman India. She is Non-Executive Director of Nestle S.A. and Past President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). She serves on the board of Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, The Energy Resources Institute and the International Advisory Council of the Inquiry of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). She  joined the bank from Morgan Stanley, joining the bank as Vice Chairman and Managing Director at HSBC Securities and Capital Markets in 2002 and was appointed as group general manager in 2006.  She took over as chief executive of HSBC India in 2007 and as Chairman of HSBC India in 2009.

The Inquiry Team

Nick Robins


Nick Robins was Head of the Climate Change Centre of Excellence at HSBC in London. He has been co-chair of the UNEP Finance Initiative’s climate working group, a member of GE’s Corporate Citizenship Panel, as well as a Business Fellow of the Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. Before joining HSBC, Nick was first head of SRI research and then head of SRI funds at Henderson Global Investors where he produced the first carbon audit of an investment fund and helped launch the Industries of the Future fund. Prior to Henderson, he was Director of Sustainable Markets at the International Institute of Environment and Development, where he authored research on sustainable industry, trade and consumption. He has also worked at the European Commission’s Environment Directorate and was part of the original Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Dr Simon Zadek


Simon is currently a Co-Director of the Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System launched by the United Nations Environment Programme in early 2014. He is a currently Visiting Professor at Singapore Management University, a Visiting Scholar at Tsinghua School of Economics and Management in Beijing, Senior Fellow at the International Institute of Sustainable Development, and Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Academy of Business in Society. He is on the Advisory Board of the leading sustainability investment fund, Generation Investment Management. He founded and was until 2009 Chief Executive of the international think tank, AccountAbility, and before that Development Director of the New Economics Foundation, founding Chair of the Ethical Trading Initiative and on the founding Steering Committee of the Global Reporting Initiative. Simon publishes extensively: his book, ‘The Civil Corporation’, was awarded the Academy of Management’s prestigious Best Book on Social Issues in Management, and his Harvard Business Review article, ‘Paths to Corporate Responsibility’ is widely used as a reference point in understanding emergent sustainability strategies. He had advised companies worldwide on sustainability issues, and until recently lived in China.

Mahenau Agha

Head of Outreach

Mahenau Agha, universally known as Gugu, has a long career of international experience in the field of sustainable development. She was head of Communications at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Chief of External Relations for the Environment Finance Group of the United Nations Development Programme. Previously she has worked with UNEP, UNDP, the World Health Organisation's GAVI program, the Global Environment Facility.

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