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Leading Financial Centres Gather to Boost Sustainable Finance



Nearly 20 of the world’s leading financial centres are gathering in Milan, on the 12th and 13th of April, to hold the inaugural meeting of a new international network to accelerate green and sustainable finance.

Sustainable finance is now recognised as one of the megatrends shaping the future of global capital markets. This network will boost cooperation among key global hubs.

The network, convened by UN Environment, was launched in Casablanca in September 2017. It now has 18 members, a real A to Z: Astana, Casablanca, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, Milan, Liechtenstein, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris, Qatar, Seoul, Shanghai, Stockholm, Toronto and Zurich.

“Financial centres are the key places in the global economy which determine where capital flows,” said Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment. “We’re delighted to convene this network of passionate leaders and aim to make a real difference for climate action and sustainable development.”

Arabella Caporello, City Manager of Milan said: “We’re honoured to host the inaugural meeting in our city. Local authorities are on the front line in the challenge to achieve sustainable development goals and we believe that financial centres can drive the transition to a low carbon economy and inclusive society. The City of Milan is strongly involved in boosting sustainable development and specialised financial tools are a crucial point to achieve this goal.”

The past year has been marked by positive signs of progress in sustainable finance. Issuance of green bonds exceeded USD 155 billion in 2017, up from USD 82billion in 2016. Leading countries and regions are also introducing strategic roadmaps to link their financial systems with sustainable development, notably China, the EU, Italy, Morocco and Singapore.

Financial centres bring together a cross-section of different activities including banking, capital markets, insurance and investment, as well as regulation and new themes like fintech. It is this clustering effect that the Network will harness for sustainable development.

Xingan Ge, President & CEO of the China Emissions Exchange and Secretary-General of Shenzhen’s Green Finance Committee said: “We are ready to take tremendous efforts to push forward the development of green finance in our city, together with our international counterparts in the Network, to facilitate the transition to a green, low carbon, and sustainable economy, which benefits the construction of ecological civilization in China and the public welfare of the Earth.”

Stephen Nolan, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Nation Ireland, which is building up Dublin as a green financial centre, said: “It may seem surprising that highly competitive financial centres are cooperating on sustainability. Yet this collaboration is key to grow the market. In the EU, we’re establishing a regional platform for Europe’s 30+ financial centres with the EU’s Climate-KIC platform, which will form a key pillar of the global network.”

The goal of the Network is to “exchange experience and take common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance”. It will do this by raising awareness, strengthening market practice and promoting market expansion. It will also share experiences on financial innovation, building capacity and engaging in dialogue with policymakers.

The Network was initiated by UN Environment’s Inquiry. Nick Robins, Co-Director of the Inquiry said: “Leading financial centres are now showing how they can make the transition to a low-carbon, green economy cheaper, faster and smoother.”


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