A Legal Framework for Impact – Frequently Asked Questions

1. In two sentences, what is A Legal Framework for Impact?  It is a project to establish the extent to which legal and regulatory frameworks in 11 jurisdictions enable or encourage investors to consider the sustainability impact of their investments. We will release this analysis in a report in October 2020 as well as recommendations for how legislation and regulation can be changed or clarified to make investing for sustainability impact easier.  In the […]

A Legal Framework for Impact – About

Investors have a fiduciary duty to integrate financially material factors, including environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. Meanwhile, the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals have ramped up investor awareness about global sustainability challenges. Investors are increasingly considering ‘impact duties’ – such as decarbonisation targets, commitments to quality of life, gender equality or integrating the impact […]

A Legal Framework for Impact

A legal framework for the consideration of sustainability impact in investor decision-making Within the next decade, assessing and accounting for the sustainability impact of investment decision-making needs to be a core part of investment activity. Launched in January 2019, the project, A Legal Framework for Impact, supports this transition. While the need to shift investors’ focus […]

Groundbreaking work to assess real-world sustainability impact for investors: A Legal Framework for Impact

On 27 November 2019, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and The Generation Foundation announced the launch of pioneering research with global law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (‘Freshfields’) to analyse whether and how legal frameworks allow for – and incentivise – investors to consider sustainability impact […]

A Legal Framework for Impact

A legal framework for the consideration of sustainability impact in investor decision-making Within the next decade, assessing and accounting for the sustainability impact of investment decision-making needs to be a core part of investment activity. Launched in January 2019, the new project, A Legal Framework for Impact, will support this transition. Investors have a fiduciary […]

BLOG: UNEP FI urges the EU to embed sustainability impact into its Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy

In July 2020, the European Commission closed its stakeholder consultation on its Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy, which will be adopted by year-end. The Commission’s proposal recognizes that the scale of investment necessary for a timely, just and sustainable transition goes beyond the capacity of the public sector and needs to include the private sector as […]

2019 in review: UNEP FI membership tops 300 as finance sector steps up on sustainable finance

2019 was a year of stellar achievement for UNEP FI and its members. In October, shortly after successful launches at the UN General Assembly in New York, our membership reached a tally of 300 banks, insurers and investors from around the globe. This review of the year provides highlights and we would like to use this opportunity to thank our members, supporting institutions and sponsors for their dedication to promoting sustainable finance and ensuring a more resilient, low-carbon future for all.

The Principles

The UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance (download PDF): English – français – 日本語 – português – español Our aspiration The insurance industry’s core business is to understand, manage and carry risk. We depend on the trust people place in our industry to fulfil its obligations.Through risk prevention and risk reduction and by sharing risks […]

The Principles

Ecosystems > Sustainable Blue Economy > The Principles The Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles are the gold standard to invest in the ocean economy. Launched in 2018, they are the world’s first global guiding framework for banks, insurers and investors to finance a sustainable blue economy. They promote the implementation of SDG 14 (Life Below […]

Corporate Impact Analysis Tool

The Corporate Impact Analysis Tool helps banks and investors gain a cross-cutting view of the impact status and possibilities of their clients and investee companies. Based on the Positive Impact Initiative’s unique approach, it provides a holistic analysis of companies’ impacts across different sectors and countries. Download tool here The analysis is divided into three […]

An updated look at Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century: incorporation of ESG issues required and increasingly clarified in regulation

UNEP FI and the PRI provide an updated look at Fiduciary duty in the 21st Century with the release of its final report. In 2014, the PRI, UNEP FI and additional UN partners identified the misinterpretation of fiduciary duties as the primary barrier to environmental, social and governance (ESG) incorporation in investment practice. The Fiduciary […]

Blog: UNEP FI’s Margarita Pirovska discusses Investor duties and ESG integration in China

  Aligning investor duties with long-term sustainability goals is a prerequisite for balanced, inclusive and green economic development. This conclusion of the report on Investor Duties and ESG integration in China, co-authored by the PRI, UNEP FI, The Generation Foundation and the International Institute of Green Finance of Beijing, also marks the beginning of a new […]


Butch Bacani leads UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI), the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry. Endorsed by the UN Secretary-General and insurance industry CEOs, the PSI serves as a global framework for the insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance issues as risk managers, insurers and investors—and […]

Frequently asked questions

1. How were the Principles developed? The initiative to develop the Principles started after UNEP FI conducted a series of research studies from 2006 to 2009. The research focused on risks and opportunities in the insurance business associated with ESG issues.1 The development of the Principles was overseen and managed by UNEP FI insurance industry […]

Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century

As the project’s 2019 final report demonstrates, the programme has produced extensive evidence showing the critical importance of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards into regulatory conceptions of fiduciary duty. Investors that fail to incorporate ESG issues are failing their fiduciary duties and are increasingly likely to be subject to legal challenge. ​Hear from […]