European Commission to Organise Conference on Sustainable Finance

The European Commission organised its second high-level conference on sustainable finance with the objective of encouraging a global approach to sustainable finance.

Hosted by President Juncker and Vice-President Dombrovskis, this one-day event gathered Presidents of the European Institutions, Ministers from European and third countries, Governors of central banks, Chairs of international organisations as well as Chief Executive Officers of financial institutions and multi-national companies.

It provided the opportunity to embrace a common vision and a strong commitment towards a coherent international financial system that supports channelling private capital towards sustainable projects. It was an occasion to discuss how to best scale up sustainable finance globally and how to best achieve international coordination among governments, financial market participants and multi-national companies.

The programme was organised around the following three themes

  • Session 1: Financing sustainable global growth: the need for international coordination
  • Session 2: How to substantially deploy private capital towards sustainable investments?
  • Session 3: Digitalisation as part of the solution to mobilising sustainable finance across the globe

Key high-level speakers of last year’s conference included President Emmanuel MacronPresident Jean-Claude Juncker and Michael Bloomberg. For key quotes from the event please find the video with the conference highlights.

A global approach to sustainable finance

The world faces a serious investment gap in delivering on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. The OECD estimates that $6.9 trillion of annual investment in energy, transport, buildings and water infrastructure would be required over the next 15 years to be consistent with the 2° scenario as set in the Paris Agreement. Even higher investment levels will be necessary to cap global warming at 1.5° Celsius as recommended by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and to achieve a net-zero greenhouse gas economy that the EU is targeting in its long-term strategy for 2050.

Public funds will obviously not be sufficient to meet these investment needs. The financial sector has therefore a critical role to play to close this investment gap. Mobilising private investors to finance sustainable projects on a global scale is therefore indispensable for reaching tangible results in the fight against climate change, environmental degradation and social inequalities. The EU aims to be at the forefront of coordinating international efforts towards building a coherent financial system that supports global sustainable growth.

Last year, the European Union committed to lead the way in reforming the financial system and to ensure that the financial sector can play its part in the transition towards a sustainable economy. To this end, the Commission presented an ambitious action plan on financing sustainable growth in March 2018. A year later, many other jurisdictions are deploying similar initiatives.

Financial markets are global, and so are the challenges to deliver on the SDGs. It is therefore time to align these various initiatives to develop compatible markets for green financial assets across borders. A coordinated international approach on sustainable finance is a precondition for unlocking the considerable potential of sustainable finance worldwide. Developing countries in particular face difficulties in accessing adequate finance for their needs in sustainable infrastructure and energy efficiency. The global nature of financial markets could offer a great opportunity to all countries on their transition path by linking local needs to global sources of funding.