Climate change is referred to by leading economists as the greatest market failure in human history, with potentially disruptive implications on the social well-being, economic development, and financial stability of current and future generations: conservative estimates see unabated climate change leading to global costs equivalent to losing in-between 5 to 20% of global gross domestic product (GDP) each year, now and forever.

As a result, public and private decision-makers around the world are faced with the dual imperative of:

  • Significantly – and rapidly – reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide, by decarbonizing the global economy, in order to prevent the mean global temperature increase from reaching dangerous levels
  • Adapting global consumption and productions patterns, lifestyles, and the underlying supply-chains, to the physical – meteorological, hydrological – impacts of climate change that are now unavoidable

The finance sector, lying at the heart of today’s global markets, faces the same challenges, but it also is presented with the vast financial opportunities associated with overhauling economies towards climate-compatibility:

  • On the one hand, new risks – recently categorized into transition-, physical, and liability-risks –  need to be understood, identified, assessed, managed, and eventually disclosed on, by institutions across financial industries.
  • On the other hand will the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies require additional investment at an order of magnitude of at least USD 60 trillion, from now until 2050; and that investment will require financing which, in part, will have to be provided by financial institutions: USD 35 trillion to decarbonize, through renewable energy and energy efficiency, the world’s energy system; another USD 15 trillion to adapt manmade infrastructure to changing meteorological conditions; and another 2 USD trillion to reorganize global land-use is ways that meet growing demands for agricultural commodities while stopping tropical deforestation.

For financial institutions to not only weather changing risk landscapes but for them to also become determined enablers and catalysts of the climate economic transition, a number of conditions need to be met: FIs need to understand the commercial risks and opportunities implied, and know how to act on them. Legislators and regulators, including financial regulators, on the other hand, need to understand the roles, potentials, and policy-needs, of financial institutions; they also need to know how they can help steer the finance sector to become an enabler, rather than inhibitor, of the climate economic transition.

Positioned at the interface between the financial industry and world Governments, UNEFI is uniquely positioned to help meet those conditions. It does so through a number of programmes and activities, designed, implemented, and overseen, by its Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG).

  • Blog from Cop 22 Part II: A Tale of Two Cities

    A Tale of Two Cities: Progress and Challenges on the Road from Paris to Marrakech In his second blog on COP 22, the climate conference that took place in Marrakech from 4 -16 November 2016, UNEP FI Climate Change Officer, Remco Fischer asks what was accomplished in Morocco, and summarises UNEP FI’s contribution.  In the […]

  • Blog: News from Climate COP22 Part I

    The Good, The Bad, and the Unknown UNEP FI round-up: developments and outcomes from the first week of the 2016 intergovernmental climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco (COP22) by Remco Fischer, Climate Change Programme Officer. The good Last year’s climate meeting in Paris, COP 21, has been widely praised as historic for two reasons: it was […]

  • G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group (EEFTG) 2016 Activity Report

    In 2016, G20 nations have adopted a new long-term strategy for energy efficiency, the Energy Efficiency Leading Program, emphasizing the key role of finance. The topic was also highlighted in the Leaders Communiqué and embedded in the Synthesis Report of the G20 Green Finance Study Group. In parallel, through the mobilisation launched by UNEP FI, […]

  • Global stocktaking: How banks finance energy efficiency?

    As part of the Secretariat of the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group and the only representative of the private financial sector there, UNEP FI has been leading a global mobilization on energy efficiency finance since COP 21. Currently close to 120 banks from over 40 countries have endorsed the Statement of Financial Institutions on […]

  • Five Chinese banks endorse the Energy Efficiency Finance Statement under the Chinese G20 Presidency

    Facing acute environmental challenges, China has made the greening of its economy a priority and has embraced sustainable finance with a remarkable leap in the green bond market in 2016. Energy efficiency is recognized a key measure to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas and other pollutants. In 2015, financial authorities issued credit guidelines to stimulate […]

  • PDC to award research prize on aligning investment portfolios with a low carbon economy

    Investors and financial regulators are increasingly aware of the risks associated with a changing climate. In a recent speech to the insurance industry, the Governor of the Bank of England warned of huge losses faced by investors exposed to these risks. These risks are twofold. Firstly, there are those posed by climate change itself, through […]

  • Workshop in China: Enhancing Financial Flows for Energy Efficiency in the Building Sector

    Under the Chinese presidency and in the context of its work in the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group Secretariat, UNEP FI organized a workshop on Enhancing Financial Flows for Energy Efficiency in the Building Sector in China, with the support of SWITCH-Asia. Held on April 15th back to back to the G20 meeting on […]

  • Innovative Financial Instruments to Support Private Sector Investments in Energy Efficiency: Experiences and Lessons Learned from the Latin-American and Asia-Pacific Regions

    15-16 November 2016 | Lima, Perú
    This event aims to promote a dialogue and exchange of experiences among Financial Institutions from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions about the challenges and opportunities for private investments in energy efficiency to mobilize and deploy adequate and effective financial resources to achieve a low-carbon, climate-resilient development.

  • UNEP FI at Climate COP22 in Marrakech

    4-16 November | Marrakech, Morocco
    The first global climate meeting focused on implementing the historic Paris Agreement will take place in Marrakech 7-14 November. This is an overview of upcoming events and activities taking place at, and around COP 22, that UNEP FI members can contribute to.

  • Sustainable Investment Forum

    20 September 2016 | New York, NY, USA

    The Sustainable Investment Forum, organized by Climate Action, will unite 300 stakeholders from national and regional government, international finance, private industry and carbon management sectors for a day of high level discussion and debate during New York Climate Week.
    UNEPFI Members are eligible for a reduced fee.

  • UNEP FI and its role at COP 21

    1-9 December 2015 | Paris, France Significant COP21 events and side events December 1st Financing the Transition to Zero Deforestation Open registration – registration link Financial institutions can play a vital role in addressing the deforestation and degradation risks inherent in the unsustainable production, trade, processing and retail of soft commodities, especially soy, palm oil […]

  • Webinar: Carbon Asset Risk

    26, 27 and 28 August 2015 | Webinar These webinars will explore how financial institutions can measure and manage exposure to carbon asset risk. The webinars will coincide with the public release of the Carbon Asset Risk Discussion Framework, a highly-anticipated resource for financial institutions. The exact timings for this second set of webinars are […]

  • UNEP FI leads on climate change at ‘Climate Finance Week’

    19-22 May | Paris, France Climate Finance Day on 22 May provided a platform for financial institutions to demonstrate leadership on climate change. By showcasing firstly the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition (PDC) – and secondly the Insurance industry commitments to build disaster resilience and promote sustainable development – UNEP FI continued to demonstrate that it is […]

  • Investor Briefing: Portfolio Carbon

    Relevant Materials   Investor Briefing: Portfolio Carbon Programme Article in the Guardian Press Release         , News   Investment & Pensions Europe All Africa Eco Seed Business Green Environmental Expert Environmental Leader         , Relevant Materials   Programme Article in the Guardian Press Release         ,19 […]

  • UNEP FI’s delegation and events at COP18

    UNEP FI at the UNFCC 18th Conference of Parties (COP 18)26 November – 7 December 2012 | Doha, Qatar ,In the arena of the international climate change negotiations, UNEP FI has facilitated input from the finance, investment and insurance industries into the UNFCCC process. As part of its activities in this space, UNEP FI offers to […]

  • Outcomes of the Global Climate Change Conference in Durban (COP17)

    Webinar | 30 January, 2012, 14:00 CET UNEP FI is pleased to invite you to join a webinar with leading financial representatives on the recent 17th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17). The recent climate change conference, which took place in Durban, South Africa, is believed to have […]

  • Bridging the public-private divide on climate change – UNEP FI at COP 17

    UNEP FI at the UNFCC 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17)28 November – 9 December 2011 | Durban, South Africa ,The private financial sector must be a central part of the global strategy to address climate change. Not only do financial institutions possess the skills, expertise and resources required to deal with the problem: if […]

  • World’s largest investors step up call for urgent policy action on climate change

    ,Despite the global economic crisis, and increased market volatility, the world’s largest investors gathered under the umbrella of UNEP FI and four other investor groups urged governments and international policy makers to take new and meaningful steps in the fight against climate change in late October. In a joint statement the group of 285 investors […]

  • REDDy-Set-Grow: Part II – Recommendations for International Climate Change negotiators webinar launch

    Press Release   English Version ,,Video of launch of REDDy-Set-Grow Part I Visit the webpage of the launch of the Part I report., 13 September 2011 | Webinar UNEP FI invites you to join an online discussion with leading financial and government representatives to mark the launch of a landmark UNEP FI report on forest […]

  • UNEP FI side-events at UN Climate Change Conference

    7-16 June | Bonn, Germany UNEP FI, in partnership with UNEP, held a series of events in June in parallel to the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn with the intention of bridging the public-private divide in current efforts to address climate change. While the need to mobilise the private sector – including financial institutions […]

  • REDDy – Set – Grow: Opportunities, risks and roles for financial institutions in forest-carbon markets

    REDDY-Set-Grow video , Press release   Press release ,, 6 May, 2011 | London, UK Leading financial institutions upped the ante on their future role in mitigating climate change as they called for more effective forest-carbon regulations on the occasion of a UNEP FI report launch at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s European headquarters […]

  • UNEP FI and PRI joint Webinar: “Investor views on climate policy: From Cancún to Durban”

    Webinar | 22 March 2011, 16:00 GMT While the Cancún Agreements did not provide long-term certainty or a vastly improved climate policy environment, the negotiations did make progress in key areas and reaffirmed the overall policy commitment on climate change. Following on from the 2010 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change this IIGCC, INCR, IGCC, […]

  • Launch of UNEP FI and SBI Study on Climate Information

    , 12 January 2011 | Frankfurt, Germany On the 12th January in Frankfurt, Germany, the new report ‘Advancing adaptation through climate change information services: Results of a global survey on the information requirements of the financial sector’, was launched by UNEP FI and the Sustainable Business Institute (SBI), sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of […]

  • UNEP FI at the UNFCCC COP 16

    , 29 November – 10 December 2010 | Cancun, Mexico From the 29 Nov to the 10 Dec 2010 the world’s governments meet in Cancun, Mexico, to continue a process to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long term cooperative action. It is hoped that we will see governments and […]

  • World Climate Summit

    4-5 December 2010 | Cancun, Mexico From the 4-5 December 2010 the UNEP Finance Initiative and partners, including the World Bank, the UN Global Compact, the Carbon Disclosure Project and many others, will come together to launch the inaugural World Climate Summit at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, Mexico. WCS will be running in parallel to COP16, […]

  • The African Bankers’ Carbon Finance and Investment Forum

    4-5 November 2010 | Johannesburg, South Africa UNEP FI and The African Carbon Asset Development Facility along with signatories Standard Bank and Development Bank of Southern Africa are proud to bring to you The African Bankers’ Carbon Finance and Investment Forum on 4-5 November in Johannesburg, South Africa. In the run-up to the COP16 in […]

  • UNEP FI and PRI joint webinar: Outcomes and implications of the historic UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

    Webinar: 28 January 2010 | 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM GMT In December 2009 world leaders finalised historic negotiations at COP15 in Copenhagen; even though the outcomes remained well below expectations, some progress was made and new ground covered, with potential implications for emissions reductions targets, carbon markets and other instruments, public finance mechanisms and, […]

  • From Cape Town to Copenhagen – UNEP FI brings the finance sector perspective to the decisive Climate Change Summit (COP 15)

    Cape Town toCopenhagenNEWS CENTRE ,, 7-18 December | Copenhagen, Denmark From the 7th to 18th December 2009 the world’s governments meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to negotiate and hopefully agree on what the global response to climate change and a successor deal to the Kyoto Protocol will look like. All potential outcome scenarios suggest that businesses, […]

  • CCWG side event creates an essential link between international climate change negotiators & the financial world

    , 6 June 2009 | Bonn, Germany UNFCCC June Talks on the run-up to Copenhagen View the webcast of the event. How can carbon markets and the Flexible Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol be actually improved to cover so-far neglected countries, project sizes and technology categories? How can technology transfer happen without compromising the vital […]

  • Making Forests Competitive – Practical Solutions for Permanence (UNFCCC COP 14)

    9 December | CoP 14 – Poznan, Poland Seminar followed by networking reception. Forests are biological sinks that permanently stabilise and sequester carbon since the beginning of life on the planet. They have covered vast areas of the earth’s surface for millennia, and to date contain around 60 per cent of the carbon stored in […]

  • Carbon Crunch: Meeting the Climate Change Cost (UNFCCC COP 13)

    , 11 December 2007 | COP 13 – Bali, Indonesia On December 11th, the UNEP FI Climate Change Working Group launched its latest CEO Briefing at COP 13 in Bali. “Carbon Crunch: Meeting the Cost“, analyses the most recent studies on the cost of climate change, the benefits of early mitigation- and adaptation-action, and the […]

  • Adaptation and Vulnerability to Climate Change: The Role of the Finance Sector (UNFCCC COP 12)

    , 15 November, 2006 | COP 12 – Nairobi, Kenya UNEP FI’s CCWG held a side event at the UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi, marking the launch of its latest report “Adaptation and Vulnerability to Climate Change: The Role of the Finance Sector.” The report is the latest from the Climate Change Working Group, […]

  • The Future of Climate Policy: The Financial Sector Perspective (UNFCCC COP 11)

    ,5 December, 2005 | Montréal, Canada The UNEP FI Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) held a side event at the UNFCCC Eleventh Conference of Parties (COP 11), and first Meeting of the Parties (MOP 1) in Montréal, Canada. The side event marked the official launch of the CCWG’s latest publication, The Future of Climate Policy: […]

  • Finance for carbon solutions: The Clean Development Mechanism from the financial sector perspective (UNFCCC COP 10)

    ,UNEP FI Side Event: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) 15 December 2004 | Buenos Aires, Argentina UNEP FI launched its CEO Briefing on Finance for Carbon Solutions (PDF: 1.3 MB) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Tenth Conference of the Parties […]

  • Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) event: Creating the Climate for Change

    ,Creating the Climate for Change 1-2 June, 2004 | Bonn, Germany The following is adapted from the SEF event Communiqué On 1-2 June 2004, the Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) Event “Creating the Climate for Change” (organized by the Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative (SEFI), a joint initiative between UNEP FI, UNEP Energy and the Basel Agency […]

  • Emissions Trading – The Financial Sector Perspective (UNFCCC COP9)

    ,UNEP FI Side Event: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9) 10 December 2003 | Milan, Italy With the uncertainty of Russian ratification looming over the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9) in Milan, the UNEP FI Climate Change […]

  • Beyond Kyoto – What next? (UNFCCC COP 8)

    ,UNEP FI Side Event: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Eighth Conference of the Parties (COP 8) 30 October 2002 | New Delhi, India Key Documents Emissions Trading Position Paper (PDF: 146 KB) UNEP Press Release: Financial Sector, Governments and Business Must Act on Climate Change or Face the Consequences (PDF: 198 KB) Reuters: […]

  • The Financial Sector and Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 7)

    UNEP FI Side Event: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Seventh Conference of the Parties (COP 7) November 2001 | Marrakech, Morocco Key Documents Climate Change Working Group Position Paper – 2001 (PDF: 31 KB) UNEP FI Press Release: Finance sector ready to implement Kyoto Protocol: Multi-billion USD market is waiting (PDF: 20 […]

  • UNEP FI side event at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP 6 / Part 2)

    UNEP FI Side Event 18 July, 2001 | Bonn, Germany Key documents UNEP Press Release: Financial sector responding to climate change – impatient with pace of political progress (PDF: 18 KB) Overview UNEP Finance Initiatives held a successful special event at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 6th Conference of the Parties (COP […]