Johannesburg, 06 August 2020: In a report released by the UN yesterday, 30 CEOs from prominent corporations around the globe, including Dr Leila Fourie, Group CEO of the JSE, who make up the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD) – identify more than 60 concrete measures to accelerate and scale up funding for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report, Renewed, Recharged and Reinforced, focuses on six areas that are critical to the global sustainability agenda: (1) addressing systemic sustainability risks, (2) improving ESG data and scoring, (3) globally conforming disclosure requirements, (4) strengthening corporate governance, (5) enhancing public-private sector partnerships and (6) developing sustainable finance products and infrastructure. The GISD provided this 60+-point action plan to the European Commission’s Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy consultation, but recommend widespread implementation by public authorities worldwide.
“We must act now to build a fairer, greener and more resilient economy that leaves no one behind and aligns and renews our public and private collaborative efforts to finance sustainable development. The Secretary-General-convened GISD is to be applauded for steering and providing its concrete recommendations to the European Commission and to the world,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.
Convened by Secretary-General António Guterres, the GISD Alliance is co-chaired by Oliver Bäte, CEO of Allianz, and Fourie, and includes the CEOs from 30 international investment managers, banks and corporations representing $15 trillion in assets across 24 countries. (See complete list below.)
According to the report, insufficient data and poor data usability are severely hampering the growth of sustainable finance. The GISD endorses making sustainability reporting on relevant ESG topics mandatory for financial and non-financial institutions. The report argues that the COVID-19 crisis creates an imperative to embed long-term thinking and sustainability into corporate and investment practices. Further, the report makes it clear that investors’ fiduciary duties encompass material sustainability considerations.
“The GISD report provides recommendations and strategic considerations that can help decision makers from the public and private sectors to harmonize objectives, coordinate global standards and align efforts to facilitate, promote and scale up investments toward the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Fourie and Bäte.
GISD members call on governments to live up to societal expectations and establish financing and regulatory frameworks that promote sustainable finance and progress towards the SDGs. Throughout the report, members emphasize the urgency, underscored by the pandemic, to accelerate and scale up existing sustainable finance initiatives.
“Governments and the private sector must act in tandem. The scale of the challenge calls for reinvigorating public-private partnerships to a degree not experienced since World War II—and a degree that has perhaps never been seen in peacetime,” said Jay Collins, Vice Chairman of Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory at Citi, who chaired the report committee.
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