Experience and Lessons from South Africa: An Initial Review

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

  • Experience and Lessons from South Africa: An Initial Review

    Date: 17-Jun-2016

    This paper provides an outline of South Africa’s financial sector, the environmental and social issues it faces, the response of government and financial regulators and the extent to which has resulted in measurable sustainable investment flows. In South Africa environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations appear on the agenda of strategic discussions and are part of the

  • 3rd Update Report: Pathways to Scale

    Date: 07-Jan-2015

    This is the 3rd Update Report of the UNEP Inquiry, it is focused on the challenge of financing the low-carbon transition. It explores how innovative ideas and practices can be made more effective, adopted more widely, and taken to scale—and as a result move the trillions that are required. Scaling-up proven but limited innovations, is a common

  • 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

  • Stock Exchanges and Sustainability

    Date: 23-Dec-2015

    Stock exchanges have historically played an important role in economic growth and development through enabling effective capital allocation. However, exchanges and markets more broadly have changed over time, in structure, inter-connectedness and rate of activity. This has happened against a backdrop of growing recognition of the unsustainability of the current economic growth path in both

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Green Banking System

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    This paper sets out the case for establishing a green banking system in China. It recommends the establishment of a system of green banks empowered to fully leverage their expertise, scale, and risk management to manage green loans and investments. A China Ecological Development Bank should be established in which the government does not have to have a

  • 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,

  • The Financial System We Need: From Momentum to Transformation

    Date: 29-Sep-2016

    Download the policy summary: [AR] [CH] [EN] [ES] [FR] [PT] [RU] Download the individual chapters: Chapter 1: Mapping the momentum | Chapter 2: Harnessing financial technology for sustainable development | Chapter 3: Measuring performance | Chapter 4: Steps towards transformation Our follow-up annual report reveals a doubling in policy actions over the past five years to align the global financial system with sustainable

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