Finance leaders from across the globe are meeting in Edinburgh to develop environmentally sustainable financial solutions.
Scotland has been chosen as the host country in recognition of its growing reputation as a leader in the ethical finance debate.
The two-day Finance for Nature Global Summit brings together Government officials, financial institutions, consumer goods corporations, supply chain intermediaries and conservation organisations to explore new investment ideas aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event has been arranged by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Scottish Government-backed Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), together with the New York Declaration on Forests Global Platform, and is hosted by independent investment manager Baillie Gifford.
The summit comes after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the world is facing a climate emergency.
Recent weeks have seen a renewed sense of urgency in tackling climate change, following a visit to the UK by teenage activist Greta Thunberg and protests by environmental group Extinction Rebellion.
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risks Report, half of the top global risks relate to the environment and climate change and have a material impact on a company’s operational costs, reputation, risk and profitability.
The SDGs, which reflect the aspirations of people around the world, provide a global framework for businesses and financial institutions to address these challenges.
With an estimated US$ 2.4trillion annual shortfall in the investment required to achieve the 2030 target there is an urgent need for private sector finance.
Despite growing interest, a fraction of the worldwide invested assets are currently aligned to the SDGs.
The Finance for Nature Global Summit will seek to develop and shape innovative financial instruments to mitigate complex risk, particularly from climate change.
The summit is part of a pioneering $1 million two-year programme of collaboration aimed at mobilising private capital for the SDGs that was announced by UNDP and Scottish Government in October 2018.
Participants include senior representatives from UNDP, Scottish / UK Governments, the ex finance minister of Costa Rica, leading corporates (including Tesco, Mars, Unilever, Nestle and Kering – Gucci/YSL), nature-aligned organisations (including WWF) and global financial institutions (including Aberdeen Standard, Baillie Gifford, Bank of Ireland, RBS, Barclays, Scottish Widows, and HSBC).
Omar Shaikh, founder of the Edinburgh-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), said:
“Hosting this event in Scotland is recognition of our growing reputation as a leader in convening the ethical finance debate.
“By building finance-related partnerships in support of investments aligned with the UN’s sustainable development goals, we hope to demonstrate genuine impact and address the biggest challenge facing the world today.”
Andrew Cave, Head of Governance and Sustainability at Baillie Gifford, said:
“As long-term investors, we understand the importance of considering sustainability issues in the investment process. Therefore, we are delighted to support this important event.”
Jamison Ervin, the UNDP’s Global Programme on Nature for Development Manager said:
“The recent UN report on nature issued a clarion call regarding our global biodiversity crisis. This summit helps us understand how private sector capital can accelerate nature-friendly growth while also catalysing an inclusive and sustainable future. We need a new economic model, and where better to look for this model than Scotland.”
Global Ethical Finance Initiative – www.globalethicalfinance.org
The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) oversees, organises and coordinates a series of global programmes and initiatives to promote finance for positive change around the world. Along with delivering practical projects, GEFI annually hosts in Edinburgh the premier platform that convenes the world’s foremost business, political, civic and social leaders of society to network, share, co-develop and shape a fairer, more sustainable financial system.
UNDP – www.undp.org
Healthy ecosystems are at the heart of development, underpinning societal well-being and economic growth. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through its work in nearly 170 countries and territories, creates nature-friendly solutions that balance two imperatives: secure, restore and sustainably manage natural resources, while also protecting the environment that enables human life to flourish.
Scottish Government – www.gov.scot
In 2015 Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to sign up to adopting the SDGs. With the SDGs now embedded into the country’s National Performance Framework the Scottish Government is leading by example through its focus on wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The Principles provide a framework which align well with the tradition of the Scottish banking industry which over the past two centuries pioneered movements focused on alignment, stewardship and governance.
The New York Declaration on Forests Global Platform – www.NYDFglobalplatform.org
The New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) outlines ten ambitious global targets to protect and restore forests and end natural forest loss by 2030. The NYDF has been endorsed by 200 countries, sub-national governments, companies, indigenous peoples and NGOs. In 2017, the Global Platform for the New York Declaration on Forests was launched to support endorsers and accelerate achievement of the global goals expressed in the New York Declaration on Forests.