The role of financial institutions in helping to achieve sustainable development is currently being recast under the sustainable finance agenda. UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has played a lead role in establishing three industry-specific frameworks that are collectively redefining the global financial sector’s approach to integrating sustainability into decision-making and establishing industry norms across banking, insurance and investment.
The Principles for Responsible Banking provide the framework for financial institutions with banking activities to align their strategies with society’s goals. Signatories commit to six Principles covering Alignment, Impact & Target Setting, Clients & Customers, Stakeholders, Clients & Customers, and Transparency & Accountability. Banking members are working with UNEP FI to develop approaches to implementing the Principles, including impact analysis, target setting and accountability. Find out more about how to become a signatory.
Insurers, reinsurers and brokers join UNEP FI by committing to the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), a global framework for the insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities and fulfil its role in enabling a healthy, safe, resilient and sustainable society. PSI members are working with UNEP FI to understand, prevent and reduce environmental, social and governance risks, and better manage opportunities to provide quality and reliable risk protection. Find out more here.
UNEP FI has collaborated with our sister organization, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) for over 15 years on a number of investment initiatives, using our comparative strengths to support leading investors in driving financial systems change. In order to further strengthen the relationship with PRI, accelerate leadership in responsible investment and better serve the investment community and the financial industry at large, in January 2022 we merged UNEP FI’s investment membership with that of the PRI. Investors can continue to access leadership projects and initiatives through the joint UNEP FI/PRI Investment Leadership Programme (ILP), which convenes ambitious, cutting-edge responsible investment initiatives and fosters collaboration across the finance sector with UNEP FI’s banking and insurance members.
We encourage PRI’s investor signatories to take part in the Investment Leadership Programme and work together with our banking and insurance members to catalyse sustainability transition across the entire finance industry.
Asset managers and owners are encouraged to sign Principles for Responsible Investment.
Why join the UNEP Finance Initiative community?
UNEP FI works with its members to equip the financial sector with the tools, methodologies and expertise to implement the principles, and in doing so, to align private finance with society’s goals. Our UN network provides access to leading-edge science and issues on the horizon. The UNEP FI Secretariat is working with partners to address challenges and transform market practice to harness private finance for the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy. UNEP FI has a unique ability to convene key stakeholders, spur leadership initiatives and help shape industry action to advance sustainable finance.
Members have opportunities to:
- Participate in a rich work programme to enhance market practice in sustainable finance and gain insights into emerging approaches across banking, insurance and investment. Read about the initiatives we have been working on with our members in our annual overview here.
- Join industry and thematic working groups and collaborative projects to develop guidance on integrating sustainability.
- Co-develop or benefit from practical resources to identify and address environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues linked to underwriting, lending and investment.
- Deepen expertise in topics such as ecosystem risk management, climate adaptation and energy efficiency finance, climate-related financial disclosures, strategic realignment of portfolios for the low-carbon transition, and product development to finance the SDGs.
- Access ground-breaking research and learn how to embed impact assessment and science-based scenarios in target-setting.
- Engage in our network to exchange good practice across banking, insurance and investment peers and stay on top of issues that matter to stakeholders.
- Participate in structured peer learning, knowledge sharing and capacity building activities.
- Join ambitious coalitions to scale up the financial sector’s contribution to implementing UN-led agreements to protect society and our planet, not least the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
- Have preferential access to training and sustainable finance events that showcase leadership across the sector. Join regional activities to explore topics most relevant to the geographical context in which your business operates.
The benefits of membership are largely commensurate with an institution’s level of engagement with the UNEP FI governance, work programme and community. Where members aren’t able to directly participate in projects or working groups, they can often gain early access to learning outcomes by participating in consultations or webinars prior to launches. All members have preferential access to Global and Regional Roundtables and can join Annual General Meetings to explore industry developments with UNEP FI’s Global Steering Committee and Secretariat, find out how our strategy is being implemented, engage industry peers and contribute to decision-making.
Join us to be part of leadership in sustainable finance and a global community working to upgrade ways of doing finance for an inclusive, resilient future.