On 13 April 2018, the inaugural meeting of the international network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) in Milan brought together 16 member centres – Astana, Casablanca, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, Liechtenstein, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Stockholm, Toronto and Zurich – as well as a wide range of observers and partner organisations. Sustainable finance is now recognised as one of the megatrends shaping the future of global capital markets.
Italy’s Ministry of Environment and the Comune di Milano hosted the Network during its two-day meeting in Milan. At the meeting, members agreed a five-point action plan to build international cooperation among financial centres on climate action and sustainable development:
- First, to strengthen links among members, including through regional hubs for Europe, Asia and Africa. The European hub has just been launched in partnership with Climate-KIC. These hubs will involve centres in the regions as well as internationally
- Second, to develop a robust benchmarking and assessment tool to enable financial centres to evaluate their progress and inspire further action. This will build on initial work presented in 2017 by I4CE and PWC.
- Third, to develop a joint statement on the importance of effective taxonomies for green and sustainable finance. A common language is key if green and sustainable finance is to develop in a trusted and dynamic fashion across the world.
- Fourth, to share experience on green digital finance, including through testing the Green Assets Wallet, a new approach to improve efficiency and transparency in the green debt market.
- Fifth, to gather the experience of financial centres in the development of the green bond market. This resulting briefing paper will be produced together with the Climate Bonds Initiative.
The Network will also explore in more detail ways of sharing efforts to build the capacity of financial professionals in green and sustainable finance and also connecting financial centres with the green and sustainable needs of economic regions.
Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment said: “Financial centres are the key places in the global economy which determine where capital flows. We’re delighted to convene this network of passionate leaders”.
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”.
Tom Theobald, Deputy CEO of Luxembourg Finance, representing the Luxembourg financial centre at the inaugural meeting in Milan, said: “Luxembourg, in its role as a leading international platform for sustainable finance, is committed to work together with other financial centres to drive climate action and sustainable development across the globe. The fact that 16 financial centres have today agreed on a shared strategy and priority actions for green and sustainable finance sends an important signal.”
Nick Robins, Co-director of the UN Environment Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System said: “The Milan meeting showed the real desire of leading financial centres to share experience and work together to make the transition to a sustainable economy cheaper, faster and smoother”.
Francesco La Camera, Director General for Sustainable Development and International Affairs of the Italian Ministry of Environment, said: “The Information Centre for Environment-Climate Cooperation in Africa, another issue promoted by the G7 under Italian Presidency, might be an effective partner and support to the regional African Hub of FC4S”.
About the international network of Financial Centres for Sustainability
The FC4S Network flows from the work undertaken by Italy’s Ministry of Environment during Italy’s 2017 G7 Presidency, which endorsed and encouraged cooperation among financial centres. The Network itself was then launched in Casablanca in September 2017 with a mission to “exchange experience and take common action on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance”. The Network was presented at the Italian Cultural Centre during the One Planet Summit in Paris, in December 2017. So far in 2018, it has expanded its international membership and defined a three-year working strategy with the support of Italy. UN Environment is establishing the network’s secretariat in Geneva with support from Swiss public authorities at both the federal and cantonal levels, as well as from private sources in Geneva.