UNEP FI promoted a three-day event to exchange experiences on targets for positive impact on financial health and inclusion, climate mitigation, and sustainable land use among signatories of the Principles of Responsible Banking in Latin America and the Caribbean and partner financial institutions in São Paulo on April 11-13 with more than 160 people from 13 countries and 26 organizations.

The purpose of the peer-to-peer event was to promote the sharing of diverse experiences, knowledge, and different points of view to address more responsible financial products and services in the financial system. Aligned with the commitment to Principle 2: impact and target setting, the event’s agenda included panels and roundtables about science-based methodologies, shared challenges, best practices, and real cases.

On the first day, the meeting was hosted by Bradesco and focused on the measurement of key performance indicators related to financial health and inclusion, which are used to set SMART targets. The aim was to trigger reflection on the role of banks in promoting a systemic change for financial health and inclusion.

The day started with a presentation by UNEP FI on the financial health and inclusion framework and then an exchange of successful experiences in establishing financial health and inclusion targets with Bradesco from Brazil, CS Group from Costa Rica, and Global Bank from Panama. Then a session with the Brazilian regulator, the Central Bank, and the Brazilian Federation of Banks, Febraban, discussed best practices in measuring indicators of financial health and inclusion, along with the presentation of Bancolombia, which presented its financial health scores. Since banks are not operating in an institutional vacuum, the last panel session with ABFintenchs and Latimpacto discussed how banks can join forces with fintechs and philanthropies in order to promote financial health. Finally, there were two peer-to-peer sessions (roundtables) during the day to discuss the main challenges faced by banks and elaborate upon possible regional solutions.

Itaú hosted the second day of the event, in which climate mitigation targets to limit the planet’s warming to 1.5°C were also discussed were at the center of discussions. The main objective of this meeting was to discuss potential strategies and proactive actions to leverage the mitigation of climate change. The second day included a presentation by the UN High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP25, Gonzalo Muñoz, giving an overview of commitments to tackle climate change in the world.

The attendees learned about how to overcome challenges when using climate scenarios, in a presentation from UNEP FI and NINT. A session on the requirements, challenges, and trends for climate mitigation targets was hold with SBTi, PCAF, and Instituto Clima e Sociedade. It was followed by a dialogue where Produbanco from Ecuador, Itaú from Brazil, Promerica from Costa Rica, and Banorte from Mexico presented their lessons learned in the climate target setting process. Finally, the day closed with a roundtable where banks could help one another to overcome challenges, in addition to a brainstorm on how UNEP FI could further support such challenges.

The third day, hosted by BTG Pactual and sponsored by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), was opened to non-member banks and selected FIs with the objective to achieve a broader group of players in the financial system and agribusiness. The debate was centered on land use as a path to net zero strategies and new opportunities to develop deforestation and conversion-free (“DCF”) aligned financial products, with a particular focus on agriculture and livestock producers and companies operating in soft commodities supply chains.

The lineup was made up of a session on how DCF finance can contribute to Net-Zero strategies with the presence of TNC, Agroícone, Banco Central do Brasil, Finance in Motion, and Tropical Forest Alliance, a session on IFACC and other innovative deforestation-free financial mechanisms with Santander, Syngenta, Sustainable Investment Management (SIM) and VERT. Another very expected session showed several analytical tools to support FIs’ best practices in land use, where MapBiomas, Global Forest Watch, Traive and Earth Daily Agro presented. There was also a session on target setting and measurement of emissions in agriculture with SBTi, Greenhouse Gas Protocol and SLC Agrícola, and finally a pannel on viable opportunities for integrating nature-based solutions (NBS) and biodiversity assets in agriculture with Converge Capital, BlueBell, WayCarbon and BMO Radicle.

Organized by UNEP FI with technical support from NINT, an ERM Group Company, and sponsored by the Sustainability Academy of the eco.business Fund, the event brought a valuable lesson about the power of joining people from different backgrounds together to discuss and exchange experiences for a common good. The many professionals attending provided important tools for their peers to keep moving forward with the positive impact agenda on financial health and inclusion, climate mitigation and land use, besides building collective knowledge and cooperation among Latin American and Caribbean banks.