The Experience of Governance Innovations in South Africa

Policy Lever: Enhancing Market Practice

 Levers to enhance market practice are focused on improving the efficiency and accountability of financial markets. They  improve risk assessment and pricing - ultimately seeking to improve investor decision-making and returns.  This has to date been the most popular approach to internalizing sustainable development into financial decision-making.

Examples

Key approaches include:
  • Fiduciary duty and capacity: clarifying that duties to clients include sustainability factors and including requirements for knowledge and training on sustainability for fiduciaries.
  • Incentives: Encouraging asset owners to ensure better alignment of incentives along the investment chain.
  • Prudential risk management regulation: Integrating sustainability into guidance & requirements on risk management and controls.
  • Stress tests: Developing scenarios to test impact of environmental shocks on assets and business models.
  • Capital requirements: Calibrating capital requirements to incorporate environmental factors.
  • Disclosure requirements: Making environmental reporting by financial institutions and non-financial corporations mandatory.
  • Equity analysis: Encouraging greater transparency in equity analysis of incorporation of sustainability factors.
  • Credit ratings: Encouraging the integration of sustainability risk factors into credit analysis.
  • Green assets Adjusting standards and rules to facilitate capital raising (e.g. green bonds, green sukuks, green IPOs, yieldcos).
  • Indexes: Ensuring that benchmarks and indices reflect critical sustainability factors.

Impacts

These measures provide critical foundations of information needed to sensitise financial decision making to environmental impacts and risks, but they are likely to have a modest impact unless they are combined with additional shifts that make these risks financially material.   

Inquiry Publications

  • 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

  • Aligning the Financial System with Sustainable Development in the United States of America

    Date: 01-Feb-2016

    The US financial system is undoubtedly among the largest, most innovative and most sophisticated in the world. It is also clear that this is both a benefit and an impediment to non-governmental investment in sustainability and inclusiveness. To date, the actual investment in infrastructure and sustainability does not meet current needs, especially those related to maintaining

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Environmental Cost Analysis

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    China’s existing accounting system fails to effectively evaluate environmental costs, leading to them being interested in investment, commercial and policy decision-making. This paper sets out the case for creating a public non-profit environmental cost analysis system, to give access to environmental data and methodologies, and reduce the cost and information barriers to evaluating the true environmental cost of investment

  • China Report: The Risks and Opportunities of Stranded Assets

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    The rise and fall of different technologies, products and businesses are central to rising productivity in healthy, well-functioning markets. This process can result in “stranded assets”—assets that have suffered from unanticipated or premature write-downs, devaluations or conversion to liabilities. Stranded assets are therefore a regular and necessary feature of dynamic economic systems, a phenomenon inherent

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Green Bonds

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    Green bonds provide a potential source of long-term funding for green loans which reduces the risk of maturity mismatch. This paper recommends that China should commence the pilot issuance of green bonds at the earliest possible date to support the green lending business of banks. Specific recommendations are: Create a clear standard to define the scope of investment

  • Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century

    Date: 08-Sep-2015

    This report is based on an analysis of investment practice and fiduciary duty in eight countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Africa, the UK and the US. It is based on interviews, roundtables and webinars with asset owners, investment managers, lawyers and regulators and a comprehensive review of law and policy on fiduciary duty. The purpose of this

  • China Report: Lessons from the Development of Green Finance in China

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    With the initial progress of China’s green finance market, some lessons are emerging that are useful both for the further development of the green finance system and for other emerging market countries embarking on green finance development.  Strategic political commitment has been the key driver for China’s development of green finance, but translating this into

  • 4th Update Report: The Coming Financial Climate

    Date: 07-May-2015

    This is the 4th Update Report of the UNEP Inquiry, it is focused on the challenge of financing the low-carbon transition. Many approaches and instruments will be needed to deliver the financing needed. Public finance, funded by tax revenues and international transfers, will provide part of the solution.  However such finance will be inadequate. Private

  • Banking & Sustainability: Time for Convergence

    Date: 01-Sep-2015

    In 2014, the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) commissioned a study entitled Stability and Sustainability in Banking Reform – Are Environmental Risks Missing in Basel III?, in recognition of the growing number of banking regulators around the world that have started to act on environmental

  • Green Finance for Developing Countries

    Date: 15-Jul-2016

    This report outlines key concerns and needs of developing countries in relation to green finance, particularly focusing on developing countries that are not members of the G20. It also highlights emerging innovations, drawing in particular from engagement with practitioners and regulators from Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand

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