Financing the Future

Policy Lever: Directing Finance Through Policy

Policy directed finance approaches introduce requirements or prohibitions that shift capital allocation. Such measures in effect introduce new performance criteria into financial decision-making, which might reduce or increase risk-adjusted returns. The Inquiry found that measures that change the legal requirements facing financial institutions are perhaps the most contentious, but are also widely used.

Examples

Examples in practice include:
  • Lender and other liabilities: legal liability regimes for lenders, fiduciaries and insurers (and responses in terms of due diligence for environmental risk).
  • Capital requirements: adjustments to capital ratios to enable lending towards critical sectors (e.g. for SMEs, green assets).
  • Priority sector lending: integration of environmental and social factors into priority lending programmes.
  • Prohibitions: restrictionson financial transactions due to excessive societal costs e.g. lending to illegal deforestation (Brazil) and pollution intensive industrial plants (China).
  • Directed service provision: requirements that financial institutions provide access to particular financial services such as basic bank accounts and insurance.
  • Mandatory purchase requirements: mandatory requirements for purchase of key financial services (such as insurance) that are essential for system resilience in the face of environmental stress.

Impacts

Measures such as priority lending and strengthened environmental liability have a strong potential for driving change, but need careful design and market preparation to avoid unintended consequences.    

Inquiry Publications

  • Roadmap for a Sustainable Financial System

    Date: 13-Nov-2017

    The objective of this Roadmap is to propose an integrated approach that can be used by all financial sector stakeholders—both public and private—to accelerate the transformation toward a sustainable financial system. This approach can bring policy cohesiveness across ministries, central banks, financial regulators, and private financial sector participants to focus efforts. The ultimate vision that

  • The Experience of Governance Innovations in South Africa

    Date: 17-Jun-2016

    This paper explores whether the extent to which Regulation 28, CRISA and JSE Integrated Reporting Standards (referred to as governance policy innovations) have influenced the level of investment that integrates Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in its decision making process. It finds that while governance innovations have increased actors’ awareness about interrelationship between ESG factors and financial performance it

  • Green Finance Progress Report

    Date: 11-Jul-2017

    The G20 Green Finance Synthesis Report adopted at the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou in September 2016 set out seven options identified by the G20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) to accelerate the mobilization of green finance. This paper highlights some of the progress made against these seven options in G20 members and internationally since June 2016.

  • Lessons from Inclusive Banking Experiments in South Africa and Kenya

    Date: 23-Aug-2015

    This paper examines the experience of inclusive banking experiments in South Africa and Kenya. The Kenyan example revolves around the development of mobile money through market led innovation alongside evolutions in the legislative and regulatory process. In South Africa a different approach was taken, with the development of the multi-sector Financial Sector Charter and a National Bank Account (‘Mzansi’) Hawkins

  • Green Finance Opportunities in ASEAN

    Date: 15-Nov-2017

    This report lays out ways in which the ASEAN region can unlock this investment and protect its people, environment and economies. It provides an analysis of green investment opportunities in the region from 2016 to 2030, assesses the characteristics of those opportunities, and estimates current green finance flows. Based on a literature review and expert

  • Establishing China’s Green Financial System: Progress Report

    Date: 16-Nov-2017

    The report finds that China – which put green finance on the G20 agenda during its 2016 presidency – is following through on its political commitment to boost the financing required to do this. The report looks particularly at progress since the State Council in August 2016 approved a set of recommendations for action on

  • Central Banks Can and Should Do Their Part in Funding Sustainability

    Date: 10-Jun-2014

    In this paper Andrew Sheng argues that central banks, when purchasing financial assets, should consider selecting assets that will promote sustainability, including climate change mitigation and adaptation. Social impact investing he argues is consistent with a central bank’s mandate to maintain price stability. They could incentivize bankers and asset managers to invest in, or lend to, climate mitigation activities and low-emission

  • On the Role of Central Banks in Enhancing Green Finance

    Date: 20-Feb-2017

    The paper examines the role of central banks in ‘greening’ financial systems. Given the enormous investments needed to bring about a green transformation, the financial sector will have to play a central role in allocating resources towards a sustainable and green economy – and stop financing activities that harm the environment. Against this backdrop, the

  • Greening the Financial System: Enhancing Competitiveness Through Economic Development

    Date: 16-May-2017

    This briefing summarises the discussions held during a roundtable for market and policy leaders in Washington, D.C. on 20 April 2017. The goal of the event was to explore pathways to scale and speed up green finance and to harness its benefits for long-term sustainable growth and competitiveness. The key messages are: Green finance made

  • Lenders and Investors Environmental Liability

    Date: 19-Apr-2016

    This working paper presents an overview of Lender Environmental Liability (LEL) and Investor Environmental Liability (IEL) regimes and issues. Environmental harm and degradation is often irreparable. Therefore, our assumption is that precaution is the main objective of any international and domestic environmental legal regime. The paper explores the conditions under which LEL/IEL can be effective

Copyright © United Nations Environment Programme. All Rights Reserved. Contact us