L to R: Matthew McAdam, PRI; Butch Bacani, UNEP Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative; Jacki Johnson, IAG Limited; Eric Usher, UNEP FI; Simon O’Connor, RIAA; and Emma Herd, IGCC

More than 300 finance sector organisations with $10 trillion in assets have released a joint statement calling for the development of sustainable finance roadmaps for Australia and New Zealand.

The Joint Statement in Support of a Sustainable Financial System for Australia and New Zealand was released on Tuesday at the 2018 United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Conference in Sydney, which was co-hosted by NAB and IAG.

It calls on organisations in the finance sector to support the development of sustainable finance roadmaps, which include a set of recommendations across policy, regulation and finance practices to help the sector contribute to a more sustainable and resilient economy.

Signatories include the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance, and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

UNEP FI head Eric Usher said the finance sector was providing a “clear signal” that national roadmaps were needed to unlock sustainable development finance.

“The rise in the number of governments around the world establishing frameworks to align banking, insurance and investment with the UN Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals is important for the global shift to an inclusive, resilient and low-carbon economy,” Mr Usher said.

IGCC chief executive Emma Herd said getting policy signals right would be crucial to delivering the Paris Agreement targets.

“n markets and economies all over the world, investors are seeing hard evidence of the financial benefits of a more sustainable financial system,” she said.

“We welcome the opportunity to help put Australia and New Zealand on the path to developing our own Sustainable Finance Roadmaps.”

RIAA chief executive Simon O’Connor said the finance sector was increasingly realising that better outcomes for society and the environment aligned with strong financial performance.

“A more sustainable finance sector will better meet the expectations of the Australian and New Zealand people and underpin the emergence of a sustainable, fair and prosperous 21st century economy.”

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  1. Sean Kidney’s Climate Bond Initiative could be seen as a driver/coaxer of this slow reorientation/response to the ecological backlash to our modern environmental mismanagement. Here I would like to introduce the term “Ecologonomics”. Bit of a mouthful, I know.
    I think “roadmap” is an inappropriate allegory, given the inherently unsustainable nature of roads as we know them. Working within natural limits makes business sense-21st century financial leaders are being pressed to look to tenets of ancient wisdom as our grip on the planet disfigures her evermore.