Read Careen Abb’s recent blog on Environmental Finance (reproduced by kind permission): The SDGs won’t be achieved without a holistic approach to impacts by business and finance.

The Positive Impact Initiative is UNEP FI’s response to the SDG financing challenge:

Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs , our position paper and call to action, lays out the conceptual basis for this initiative. The paper pinpoints the as yet unexplored potential for positive impacts to generate revenues and be the heart of business models. It suggests that new, impact-based business models can significantly decrease the cost of achieving the SDGs and give rise to business and financing solutions at scale. The paper follows our 2015 Positive Impact Manifesto, which called for a new business and financing approach for sustainable development.

When it comes to practice, the Principles for Positive Impact Finance launched in 2017, provide lenders, investors and a stakeholders with a working definition of positive impact finance, and a high level framework to enable them to analyse, manage and deliver impact across business lines.

The PI Radar and Model Frameworks are now available to help implement the Principles:

  • The Model Frameworks help banks and investors develop or adapt appropriate frameworks to implement holistic impact analysis, for decision-making, for the development of financial products, and for the overall review of portfolios
  • The Impact Radar provides a taxonomy of impacts and impact definitions to identify both positive and negative impacts

The initiative is championed by a core group of UNEP FI Members and supported by a wide group of other stakeholders in the public and private sectors. These are now engaged in testing and further developing the toolkit to drive impact in mainstream finance.

The Positive Impact Initiative is generously supported by the European Commission.

  • Learn more by reading our flyer, and reading our FAQ
  • Join PI’s growing community
  • Follow Positive Impact news on Twitter: @UNEP_FI   #positiveimpactnews
  • Sign up for Positive Impact Updates
  • The SDGs won’t be achieved without a holistic approach to impacts by business and finance.

    The world’s governments will gather from 9 July for the High-Level Political Forum, an annual United Nations gathering to review progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. They will certainly, as they have in the past, flag the high costs of achieving the SDGs, re-iterate their aim to “leave no one behind”, and call on the […]

  • Positive Impact Initiative launches two working groups

    Geneva – UNEP FI’s Positive Impact Initiative (PI) is announcing the launch of two new Working Groups, where UNEP FI members, members of sister organizations and external stakeholders are working together to develop and test tools for holistic impact analysis: Impact Frameworks for corporate finance and investments with unspecified use of funds: corporate financing is an essential but […]

  • Guidance developed on an impact-based approach to finance for real estate investors and asset managers

    The UNEP FI Property Working Group, in collaboration with RICS, PRI, and members of the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change, have produced a practical, action-oriented framework to accelerate a new financing paradigm for the delivery of the global SDGs. The 25 leading institutional investors and asset managers of the UNEP FI Property Working Group […]

  • Visionary solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals’ funding gap from UNEP FI’s Positive Impact Initiative

    Paris, 26 November 2018 – How to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? UNEP FI’s Positive Impact Initiative proposes a new approach: social, economic and environmental impacts have an as-yet under explored potential to generate financial revenues: impact-based business models can be developed, with the delivery of positive impacts as a driver of sustainable business growth […]

  • Creative approaches needed to align private investments with SDG country plans and delivering on 2030 agenda

    New York, 18 July 2018 – The event “SDG Country Plans: A Roadmap to Private Investment”, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the United Nations Global Compact, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Permanent Missions of […]

  • Europe moves to put its sustainable finance strategy into law

    On May 24th the European Commission released its first legislative package under its Action Plan for Sustainable Finance, including proposals on a sustainable taxonomy and investor duties. The Commission aims to make the financial sector a powerful actor in fighting climate change and meeting the sustainable development goals by further aligning the industry with the […]

  • Blog: Creating an impactful taxonomy

    Sustainable finance is experiencing continued rapid growth. The European Commission’s recent proposal of a taxonomy as a common language for all actors in the financial system – one of several conclusions of its High-Level Expert Group – is an opportunity to establish useful guidance. In his blog, UNEP FI’s Head, Eric Usher welcomes the EC’s […]

  • Positive Impact Finance Initiative featured in UNA-UK publication, SDGs: Delivering Change

    UNEP FI Head, Eric Usher writes about how the Positive Impact Finance Initiative is working with financial institutions to close the Sustainable Development Goals’ funding gap by generating much-needed private sector finance in the UN Association UK (UNA-UK) publication “SDGs: Delivering Change”. Read the article.

  • Stay in touch with the Positive Impact Finance Initiative: Read our new newsletter

    These are exciting times for Positive Impact Finance. $5-7 trillion a year until 2030 are needed to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) worldwide. The greater part of the necessary financing and investment will need to stem from private finance. With the Positive Impact Initiative, we’re laying the groundwork for the emergence of an impact-based approach to […]

  • Positive Impact Initiative in the news: Review 2017

    As 2017 is coming to a close, we are providing an overview of the many interesting articles and publications which have been published by the press on the Launch of the Positive Impact Principles and its further developments.

  • UNEP FI, UN Global Compact and PRI form UN Alliance for SDG Finance

    UNEP FI, UN Global Compact and PRI are pleased to anounce the formation of the UN Alliance to maximize their impact on SDG Finance.

  • Webinar: Finance mechanisms to achieve the SDGs

    Watch the recording of a webinar held on 6 December which addressed the issues of assessing needs, set processes developing innovative financial mechanisms and adapting existing instruments for funding the SDGs. It gathered several influential representatives from the finance community and the corporate sector to discuss the challenges of the financing the SDGs. The webinar was organised by Climate Action and Sustainable Investment Forum Europe and featured UNEP FI’s Careen Abb from the Positive Impact Initiative.

  • Presentation and Launch of the Positive Impact Initiative

    UNEP FI is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation and regional launch of its Positive Impact Initiative in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29th November 2017, which will be hosted by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the oldest and largest stock exchange in Africa.

  • Presentation and launch of the Positive Impact Initiative

    UNEP FI is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation and launch of its Positive Impact Initiative in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 23rd November 2017, which will be hosted by Dutch Central Bank De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), in partnership with the Dutch members of the Positive Impact Initiative: ABN AMRO, ING Bank and Triodos Bank.

  • Presentation of the Positive Impact Initiative in Chile, 21 November 2017

    On the 3rd edition of the Latin American Conference on Responsable Investment in Santiago de Chile on November 21st 2017, the Positive Impact Initiative was invited to present its innovative impact-based financing paradigm. 

  • Societe Generale’s Sustainable and Positive Impact Finance Conference

    Societe Generale organised the Sustainable and Positive Impact Finance Conference in Paris on November 9th 2017, which gathered nearly 200 Corporates & Financial Institutions to discuss the stakes of inaction on climate change and the essential role of the private sector in this shift to sustainable development.

  • Tawreeq Holdings endorses the Positive Impact Manifesto and the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

      UNEP FI is pleased to welcome the 23rd financial institution to join the Positive Impact Initiative. Tawreeq Holdings Limited, with subsidiaries in the UAE and Luxembourg, specializes in comprehensive Supply Chain Finance (SCF) solutions for Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs) and their corporate clients across the MENA region. These solutions are made available through […]

  • New Report on the UN and Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Features the Positive Impact Initiative

    8 September 2017        New Report “Financing the UN Development System: Pathways to Reposition for Agenda 2030” Features the Positive Impact Initiative Did you know that the UN was the single largest channel of multilateral aid in 2015? Want an overview of the revenue, income, and expenditure of the UN Development System? Interested […]

  • Finance for Tomorrow and UNEP FI announce collaboration on promoting sustainable finance and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

    28 July 2017 The goal of UNEP FI’s Positive Impact Initiative is to drive the financing of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by working with stakeholders in the finance industry and beyond. Finance for Tomorrow is working towards the promotion of sustainable finance in France and abroad, already working with many of our members from […]

  • Positive Impact Initiative African Launch

    UNEP FI and Casablanca Finance City are pleased to anounce the regional launch of the Positive Impact initiative and the Principles for Positive Impact Finance, held in Casablanca on July 6th 2017.

  • Aviva endorses Positive Impact Manifesto and Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    UNEP FI is pleased to welcome the first insurance company and 22nd financial institution to join the Positive Impact Initiative. Aviva is the UK’s largest insurer with a long-standing tradition of engagement, including with global policy-makers, in relation to the challenge of financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “The SDGs have to become a defining element […]

  • Australia’s NAB latest financial institution to sign up to the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    UNEP FI is very pleased to welcome the 21st financial institution to join the Positive Impact Finance Initiative. NAB is one of the four largest financial institutions in Australia and has been actively supporting the growth of the Australian impact investment market, and in particular supporting the transition to a low carbon economy. NAB supports […]

  • 19 leading global banks and investors totaling $6.6 trillion in assets launch Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    Paris, 30 January 2017

    Today, 19 leading global banks and investors totaling $6.6 trillion in assets, launched the Principles for Positive Impact Finance at an event in Paris. The programme of the event is available here.

    Read the press release in English and in French.

  • PI Community Call: practical applications of holistic impact analysis

    On July 2nd 2019, the Positive Impact Initiative held two conference calls bringing together the community of UNEP FI members and other stakeholders interested in the work of the Positive Impact Initiative.

  • Webinar: Positive Impact Real Estate Investment Framework

    UNEP FI has recently published its Positive Impact Real Estate Investment Framework, part of a suite of resources to address the SDG financing gap and shift financing practices so that environmental, social and economic impacts are fully considered, intended and measured in investment activities. This webinar will provide an overview of the Framework, and include presentations from practitioners using an impact-based approach in their investment strategies and acquisition and management.

  • Webinar: Frameworks for Positive Impact Finance: applying holistic impact analysis to corporates

      This webinar helps financial institutions understand how to apply a positive holistic impact lens to portfolios or products for corporates with unspecified use of proceeds, via a recently released Model Framework.  

  • UNEP FI Global Roundtable 2018: Launch of Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs

    We were delighted to launch Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs: a position paper and call to action during a plenary session on the occasion of UNEP FI’s Global Roundtable in Paris, November 26th, 2018.  Click here for a video of the session or scroll down for a summary.

  • Webinar: From TCFD to SDG Finance – Next Steps in Sustainable Finance

    UNEP FI has pioneered work on Positive Impact finance, and TCFD implementation for investors, banks and insurers. Join this webinar to hear from the leaders at UNEP FI about the next steps in financing the Sustainable Development Goals, TCFD implementation, and how the bigger picture in sustainable finance is evolving.

  • Webinar: Listen to a conversation about “Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs” and learn more about the Positive Impact paper

    A conversation about “Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs”, a Position Paper and Call to Action prepared by UNEP FI’s Positive Impact Initiative, now out for consultation. This paper argues that the cost of achieving the SDGs can be significantly reduced and that private sector solutions can be significantly stepped up, via a new approach […]

  • Webinar: Positive Impact – Real Estate Investment Framework

    The UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and collaborators (RICS, PRI, Global Investor Coalition) is developing an impact-based investment framework for real estate to address the SDG financing gap. UNEP FI’s Property Working Group has issued a discussion paper which introduces a positive impact investment framework and requests feedback on the opportunities and challenges in investing […]

  • Webinar: Finance mechanisms to achieve the SDGs

    Watch the recording of a webinar held on 6 December which addressed the issues of assessing needs, set processes developing innovative financial mechanisms and adapting existing instruments for funding the SDGs. It gathered several influential representatives from the finance community and the corporate sector to discuss the challenges of the financing the SDGs. The webinar was organised by Climate Action and Sustainable Investment Forum Europe and featured UNEP FI’s Careen Abb from the Positive Impact Initiative.

  • Presentation and Launch of the Positive Impact Initiative

    UNEP FI is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation and regional launch of its Positive Impact Initiative in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29th November 2017, which will be hosted by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the oldest and largest stock exchange in Africa.

  • Presentation and launch of the Positive Impact Initiative

    UNEP FI is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation and launch of its Positive Impact Initiative in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 23rd November 2017, which will be hosted by Dutch Central Bank De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), in partnership with the Dutch members of the Positive Impact Initiative: ABN AMRO, ING Bank and Triodos Bank.

  • Societe Generale’s Sustainable and Positive Impact Finance Conference

    Societe Generale organised the Sustainable and Positive Impact Finance Conference in Paris on November 9th 2017, which gathered nearly 200 Corporates & Financial Institutions to discuss the stakes of inaction on climate change and the essential role of the private sector in this shift to sustainable development.

  • Webinar: How can financial services innovate to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

    From gender parity to inequality and climate action, the SDGs present an opportunity to transform the impact that the financial services industry has on society.  In order to achieve the goals by 2030, an additional $2.5tr is needed annually. Join EY and practitioners from BNP Paribas, Aviva, CDC Impact investors and UNEP FI to explore how financial services can play a key role in plugging the gap.

  • Positive Impact Initiative African Launch

    UNEP FI and Casablanca Finance City are pleased to anounce the regional launch of the Positive Impact initiative and the Principles for Positive Impact Finance, held in Casablanca on July 6th 2017.

  • Brazilian Launch of the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    The Brazilian launch of the Principles for Positive Impact Finance will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 6th, 2017.

  • Webinar: The Next Steps for the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    Positive Impact Initiative The Positive Impact Initiative is driven by a group of UNEP FI members seeking to establish a new financing paradigm based on a holistic appraisal of impacts to the three pillars of sustainable development. This is seen as the key to the twin challenges of future-proofing business and achieving the Sustainable Development […]

  • Launch of the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    The Principles for Positive Impact Finance were launched 19 leading banks and investors totaling $6.6 trillion in assets in Paris on January 30th 2017. The programme of the event is available here.

    Read the press release in English and in French.

  • Positive Impact Real Estate Investment Framework

    The UNEP FI Property Working Group, in collaboration with RICS, PRI, and members of the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change, have produced a practical, action-oriented framework to accelerate a new financing paradigm for the delivery of the global SDGs. The 25 leading institutional investors and asset managers of the UNEP FI Property Working Group […]

  • Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs: A Position Paper and Call to Action

    In Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs, we explore new ways to significantly decrease the cost of achieving the SDGs and stimulate business and financing solutions at scale. Social, economic and environmental impacts have an as-yet under explored potential to generate financial revenues: impact-based business models can be developed, with the delivery of positive impacts […]

  • The Impact Radar

    The Impact Radar aims to offer a credible and comprehensive set of impact categories that can be integrated with the tools developed to deliver PI finance and contribute to a common frame for the assessment of PI products in the industry. The radar captures the core elements of the SDGs in a way that is […]

  • Model Framework for Financial Products for Corporates with unspecified use of funds

    This Model Framework covers Financial Products for Corporates with unspecified use of funds, i.e. where the funds raised or guarantees issued are used at the Corporate’s discretion, without any specified use. For example: General corporate purpose (GCP) Loans/Overdraft, Corporate Bonds with GCP use of proceeds, Equity (primary & secondary issuance), Off-balance sheet corporate products (e.g. […]

  • Model Framework for specified use of proceeds

    This Positive Impact Initiative Model Framework covers Financial Products where the funds raised or guarantees issued are used for a specific purpose, in this case Project-related finance within the scope of the Equator Principles. For example: project finance transactions, Project-related corporate loans, bridge loans to project finance, project-related transactions supported by Export Credit Agencies (Products […]

  • Financing the UN Development System: Pathways to Reposition for Agenda 2030

    Financing the UN Development System: Pathways to Reposition for Agenda 2030 September 8th, 2017 This new report, a collaboration between the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, looks at the major trends, opportunities and challenges around financing the UN and the 2030 Agenda more broadly. UNEP FI, through initiatives such as […]

  • Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    The Principles for Positive Impact Finance provide guidance for financiers and investors to analyse, monitor and disclose the social, environmental and economic impacts of the financial products and services they deliver. They provide a global framework applicable across different business lines, including retail and wholesale lending, corporate and investment lending, and asset management. The Principles require […]

  • Positive Impact Manifesto

    The Positive Impact Manifesto invites banks and other financial sector players to think more holistically about their role in the economy, society and the broader environment, and proposes a ‘Roadmap’ to establishing a new, impact-based and market-driven paradigm: positive impact finance. Positive Impact finance is defined in the Manifesto as “that which verifiably produces a […]