Translating ESG into sustainable business value Key insights for companies and investors

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

  • 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

  • Collaborative Initiative for Green Finance in Singapore

    Date: 12-Nov-2017

    This Report aims to mainstream and socialise the idea and opportunities associated with Green Finance, as well as to explore how Singapore as a financial hub can offer Green Finance as additional expertise to better serve the needs of the ASEAN and Asia region. Besides the members of the financial community, the Report hopes to

  • Indonesia Country Report

    Date: 30-Apr-2015

    Placing Indonesia’s economy onto a green and sustainable development pathway, as envisaged in the National Long Term Development Plan, will require a large mobilization of investment. Estimates of the annual investment needed are in the order of US$300‐530 billion, with a large portion of this investment needed in critical infrastructure, as well as environmentally sensitive

  • Towards a Performance Framework for a Sustainable Financial System

    Date: 29-Nov-2016

    This paper is intended to serve as a window on the Inquiry’s analytical approach, providing a deeper understanding of the unifying criteria for evaluation of multiple market designs for financial systems in a variety of economic, political and social settings. It is also intended to provide a foundation for investors and corporate management and policymakers,

  • Financial Risk and the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy

    Date: 06-Jul-2015

    Climate change  creates two types of potential risks for financial institutions: Physical changes – both through gradual change and extreme weather events which are likely to alter the supply and demand dynamic of many industries and lead to physical damages to assets. The transition to a low carbon economy will alter the financial viability of a part of

  • China Report: Greening China’s Bond Market

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    This reports rovides an overview of the green bonds theme, innovative structures in the international market and potential application in China. A key message is that green finance, in addition to providing a green benefit, can assist in implementing and enforcing financial reforms that address imbalances in China’s financial system. Another message is that providing

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: International Experience

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    The Green Finance Taskforce was convened in 2014 by the People’s Bank of China and the UNEP Inquiry. The Taskforce brought together leading Chinese experts on financial markets, policy and regulation from government, academia and from the private sector together with international experts and practitioners. One of the inputs to the deliberations of the Taskforce

  • China Report: Alignment of Investment Strategies with Climate Scenarios

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    Financial institutions today are unable to measure their exposure to climate change. There are equally no approaches to inform on the alignment of their investment strategies with national or international environmental goals. This report outlines international developments in measuring and managing climate related risk in instituional investment and banking. It outlines implications for regulators in

  • 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

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