Greening the Financial System: Enhancing Competitiveness Through Economic Development

United Nations Environment Programme (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 substantial progress and gained prominence as an important asset class. New green financial products are facilitating investment in green and resilient businesses and infrastructure. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations can alter market practice by boosting environmental risk visibility, assisting investment and lending decision-making. Early evidence points to promising impacts on innovation, strategy shifts and cultural change. Effective public and private action is needed for a step change in the speed and scale of green finance, keeping in mind the broader effects on competitiveness, risk management and sustainable development. Smart use of public money, such as using blended finance to lower risks that private investors avoid, is critical to maximize the leverage of private capital. Development banks and financial institutions play a key role in catalysing private finance through balance sheets as well as standard setting power. The rapid development and disrupting potential of financial technology (fintech) holds great opportunities to broaden the investor base and unlock new business models for green finance.

Briefing paper