Around 50% of UNEP FI membership is composed of European institutions, being a quite diverse jurisdiction in terms of sustainability integration, with both very advanced institutions and other in the early stages of their sustainability journeys, which requires for a multilayered engagement approach.
The European members of the Global Steering Committee, Banking and Insurance Board compose the European Regional Advisory Group, which regularly discusses strategic developments, advises on priorities and workplan for the region. UNEP FI works with a network of partners to disseminate, promote and communicate its work across the region, such as tools, research and workshops with the objective of expanding sustainability and responsible finance practices throughout European financial institutions. UNEP FI undertakes outreach with European institutions and sustainable finance networks in Europe and convenes various actors, including finance institutions, industry associations and policy-makers. European regulation is seen as a positive step for institutions in the region.

To advance the sustainable finance agenda in Europe, UNEP FI works with its Europe-based Signatories and Regional Advisors, who act as dedicated industry counterparts in the design and implementation of UNEP FI strategy in the region.

European strategy

UNEP FI 2022 Strategy and Workplan for Europe reflects the links to UNEP’s thematic framework and programme of work 2022-2023, the priorities of UNEP FI for 2021-2025 as well as the specificities found in the region, allowing for flexibility when acting at different levels of sustainability integration in Financial Institutions.

Three strategic priorities:

1. Working on Regulatory developments, with critical linkages to relevant institutions and regulators in Europe by means of:

• Testing European-specific approaches and tools to help ensure market readiness for regulatory developments, and to inform policy and regulatory requirements.
• Ensuring alignment of global and regional approaches with regulators and supervisors, finding complementarities and supporting projects fostering globally ambitious goals
• Representing UNEP’s voice on Sustainable Finance, providing a holistic view on sustainability, connecting all relevant areas of interest – Environment, Climate, Social, Nature, Double materiality, Risk…

2. Expanding membership in jurisdictions without members and to continue our commitment and engagement for sustainable finance development and integration in Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia

3. Leveraging the potential of supporting institutions, endorsers and other stakeholders to reach out to the large number of European institutions more effectively and deliver on UNEP FI objectives with more tailored approaches.

Five workplan interactions

While these priorities reflect the strategic approach the region will follow, the more concrete areas of the workplan support these strategic objectives as well as the overall areas of impact for UNEP FI with a key focus on the relevant strategic drivers applied to European institutions, namely:

1) Focus on members’ implementation: Prioritize implementation of UNEP FI programs and initiatives (PRB, PSI, NZ AOA/IA/BA, etc.)
2) Global programs, regional delivery: Rationalise global collective developments with regional implementation support.
3) Sustainability technical capabilities: Strengthen offering of technical capabilities to members via the delivery frameworks
4) Engagement with financial regulators: Enhance engagement with financial regulators to strengthen industry positioning and relevance.
5) Strengthen alignment with UN/UNEP overall objectives to compound positive results

 

Flagship project: Applying the EU Taxonomy to Bank lending

A joint project of UNEP FI and the European Banking Federation (EBF) that started in 2019, composed of a WG of around 25 banks, more than 10 banking associations and a selected group of observers that work and discuss together in order to advance their understanding of the application of the EU Taxonomy to bank lending.
For the moment the work has seen 2 phases finalised with critically relevant outcomes in order to promote the understanding of the EU Taxonomy for the banking sector in Europe and around the globe.

Phase I – Testing the application of the EU Taxonomy to core banking products: High level recommendations
The first Phase of this joint project started in 2019 and worked throughout 2020. UNEP FI with the EBF and 26 European and international banks to test the EU Taxonomy on core banking products. Results were published in a major report in January 2021 with recommendations on how to improve the usability of the taxonomy for banking and case-studies testing the application of the EU taxonomy to specific transactions. This work was continued into Phase II, as soon as Phase I ended.

Phase II – Practical approaches to applying the EU Taxonomy to bank lending
This joint report by UNEP FI and the EBF, published on 15 February 2022, explores practical approaches for banks who wish to use the EU Taxonomy for mandatory and further applications. This second phase of the project was supported by Ernst & Young (EY).
The report explores several aspects of EU Taxonomy application to banking. Divided in three sections, as follows:
Section A focuses on disclosure requirements under the EU Taxonomy Article 8 Disclosures Delegated Act, with practical guidance to understand Non-Financial Corporations reporting and to work out institution’s Green Asset Ratio (GAR).
Section B tackles how the EU Taxonomy could be further used to gather EU Taxonomy compatible information for banks clients who do not yet have an obligation to disclose, such as SMEs and non-EU companies, and addresses compliance with the Minimum Safeguards of the EU Taxonomy regulation, providing a client-engagement-ready questionnaire.
Section C explores how the Taxonomy could be used by banks that wish to engage with clients who perform economic activities that are taxonomy-eligible but are not yet taxonomy-aligned with the listed Technical Screening Criteria. It provides a tool for assessing the level of misalignment and suggest approaches for transition, from KPIs, to transition plans, or to go beyond the 4-digit NACE code level.

Next steps on this workstream are still TBC. Would you like to know more or directly engage in future EU Taxonomy & EU Regulation work, please contact Daniel Bouzas Luis.

Training and professional development

UNEP FI has a range of training offerings, both online and in workshop format, covering several themes. For further information on each of these services, please visit the Sustainable Finance Training section.

UNEP FI Members in Europe

Financial institutions based in Europe which are UNEP FI Signatories

Supporting institutions in Europe

Access to Insurance Initiative (Germany)
Alianza del Seguro (Spain)
Association of British Insurers (United Kingdom)
Association of Financial Mutuals (United Kingdom)
Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe (AMICE) (Belgium)
Cass Business School (United Kingdom)
CDP Worldwide (United Kingdom)
Cefor – The Nordic Association of Marine Insurers (Norway)
Central European University (Hungary)
Certified Sustainable Insurance Partners (Italy)
Climate Bonds Initiative (United Kingdom)
ClimateWise (United Kingdom)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (Germany)
Dutch Association of Insurers (The Netherlands)
Earth Security Group (United Kingdom)
Environment & Security Initiative (Switzerland)
European Alliance Partners Company AG (EURAPCO) (Switzerland)
European Association of Co-operative Banks (Belgium)
European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) (Belgium)
EuroSIF (Belgium)
Finance Finland (Finland)
Finance Norway (Norway)
Forum per la Finanza Sostenibile (Italy)
French Insurance Federation (FFA) (France)
Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft e. V. (GDV) (Germany)
Global Organizational Learning & Development Network for Sustainability (Italy)
Guernsey International Insurance Association (GIIA) (Guernsey)
Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies (HAIC) (Greece)
IESIDE Business Institute (Spain)
International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Impact Insurance Facility (Switzerland)
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (Germany)
Insurance Development Forum (IDF) (United Kingdom)
Insurance Ireland (Ireland)
International Cooperative & Mutual Insurance Federation (United Kingdom)
International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) (Germany)
Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) (United Kingdom)
InsuResilience Global Partnership’s Secretariat (Germany)
Italian Federation of Banks, Insurers and Finance (FeBAF) (Italy)
IVR (Netherlands)
Luxembourg Insurance and Reinsurance Association (ACA) (Luxembourg)
Microinsurance Network (Luxembourg)
Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) (Germany)
Munich Re Foundation (Germany)
National Committee on International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (The Netherlands)
Oceana Europe (Spain)
Rail Working Group (Switzerland)
Responsible and Sustainable Finance Center (FINRESP) (Spain)
Southampton Law School, University of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Spainsif (Spain)
Sustainable Business Institute (SBI) (Germany)
The European Banking Federation (EBF) (Belgium)
The International and Comparative Law Research Center (ICLRC) (Russia)
The Nordic Association of Marine Insurers (Cefor) (Norway)
UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre (Poland)
University of Westminster (United Kingdom)
Verein für Umweltmanagement und Nachhaltigkeit in Finanzinstituten (VfU) (Germany)
World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) (The Netherlands)
World Savings and Retail Banking Institute-European Savings and Retail Banking Group (WSBI-ESBG) (Belgium)
WWF (Switzerland)

Contact

Daniel Bouzas Luis

15 February 2022

UNEP FI and EBF outline practical approaches to applying EU Taxonomy to bank lending

UNEP FI and the European Banking Federation have launched a report, “Practical approaches to applying the EU Taxonomy to bank lending”, that explores practical approaches for banks who wish to use the EU Taxonomy. This initiative, supported by EY, was developed based on discussions with 24 banks*, 12 banking associations and six observing organisations, and…

20 December 2021

UNEP FI Regional Roundtable for Europe 2021: Highlights

The UNEP FI Regional Roundtable for Europe was held virtually on 10 and 11 November 2021 alongside COP26, and welcomed 600+ attendees and 30+ speakers to help define the role of banking, insurance and investment in shaping ambitious responsible and sustainable strategies to proactively address the challenges and opportunities of a green recovery whilst transitioning…

6 July 2021

UNEP FI welcomes EU Strategy for Financing the Transition to a Sustainable Economy

On 6 July 2021, the European Union (EU) published its Strategy for Financing the Transition to a Sustainable Economy, showcasing the areas of key development since the Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth was published in March 2018. The publication establishes the strategic priorities and next steps in terms of both legislative and non-legislative actions in the EU with a clear aim to support the EU Green Deal and the path to a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050.

26 January 2021

26 banks test the application of the EU Taxonomy to core banking products

UNEP FI and the European Banking Federation (EBF) have launched a unique report assessing the extent to which the EU Taxonomy on Sustainable Activities could be applied to core banking products for labelling or disclosure purposes. This report is the result of a project with 26 major banks, seven banking associations and five observing organisations…

1 October 2020

European Commission appoints Platform on Sustainable Finance, includes UNEP FI

The European Commission published today the list of members of the Platform on Sustainable Finance, which includes UNEP FI. The Platform brings together experts from civil society organizations, academia, and the business and finance sector to develop sustainable finance policies and tools to tackle the urgency of the sustainability transition. For the next 2 years the…

5 December 2019

UNEP FI Regional Roundtable Europe 2019: Highlights

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), Luxembourg for Finance (LFF) and Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) joined forces for three days to welcome over 500 sustainable finance professionals to Luxembourg on 28-30 November 2019. The events, co-hosted by the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance and Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, created a…

18 June 2019

European Commission’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance launches reports, including on an EU Taxonomy, to help drive the transition towards a sustainable economy

On 18 June 2019, the European Commission’s EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) launched reports on an EU Taxonomy, a voluntary EU Green Bond Standard and voluntary low-carbon benchmarks. The TEG’s reports will help shape future regulations, some of which are still under negotiation. EU Taxonomy EU Green Bond Standard Climate Benchmarks and…

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21 June - 19 July 2021 | Webinar Series

Practical Briefings on the EU Taxonomy

The EU Platform on Sustainable Finance presents the Practical Briefings on the EU Taxonomy. UNEP FI is happy to co-host this series of webinars examining the role of the Taxonomy, its implications for financial institutions and the future steps.

27 April 2021 | Webinar

Foro permanente FEF de Finanzas Sostenibles/Forum on Sustainable Finance

UNEP FI collaborated through the chapter "Necessary skills to change finance and finance change" in the report "The role of finance in a sustainable economy" undertaken by the Spanish Institute of Financial Analysts / Financial Studies Foundation. The online presentation of the study was on April 27th at 16h CET.

13-22 April 2021 | Online

Sustainable Investment Forum Europe 2021

UNEP FI is partnering with Climate Action for the 4th annual Sustainable Investment Forum Europe which returns in April 2021 as a 4-part digital event series across 2 weeks.

20 November 2019 | Paris, France

Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Workshop

UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the European Commission are organising a Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Workshop alongside the Sustainable Ocean Summit. Participants will explore what is required for the finance sector to accelerate uptake of finance-related policies, practices, financial instruments, opportunities and initiatives to contribute to a sustainable blue economy.

11-12 June 2019

RI Europe

UNEP FI is pleased to support this annual two-day conference which provides a unique opportunity to learn, share and debate responsible investment issues with 700+ investment professionals from across the globe. Engage with Europe’s largest investors on key themes affecting local markets and the rest of the world. Thought-leaders from across the institutional investment sector as well as academic researchers will come together to debate key issues.

30 April 2019 | Frankfurt, Germany

Emerging Global Trends in Sustainable Finance: a meeting with Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FI

VfU are presenting an open meeting with Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FI to discuss global trends in sustainable finance. The event, which is organised in cooperation with the Green and Sustainable Cluster (GSFC) Germany will discuss UNEP FI's Principles for Responsible Banking, implementation of the TCFD Recommendations, an update on taxonomy for banks, impact-based approaches to corporate lending and more.

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Practical approaches to applying the EU Taxonomy to bank lending

This joint report by UNEP FI and the European Banking Federation explores practical approaches for banks who wish to use the EU Taxonomy. This initiative, supported by EY, was developed based on discussions with 24 banks, 12 banking associations and six observing organisations, and follows a joint project in 2020 that tested the application of the EU…

A Journey towards a sustainable financial system: Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Roadmap

The aim of this Roadmap is to set a vision and lay the groundwork to establish a comprehensive and far-reaching sustainable finance strategy contributing to the Agenda 2030 and towards the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This Roadmap is ambitious in terms of Luxembourg’s contributions to sustainable development and climate action, it is forward looking…

Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century – Ireland Roadmap

In June 2018, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and The Generation Foundation in collaboration with SIF Ireland, Ireland’s Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum, released the Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century Ireland Roadmap. The report provides clear recommendations on policy and market changes required to achieve full ESG integration into…

Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century – Germany Roadmap

The PRI, UNEP FI and The Generation Foundation have published the Germany Roadmap which builds on the report Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century. Many industry experts involved in this study indicated that ESG integration in Germany is on average less advanced than in neighbouring France, the Netherlands, the UK and Scandinavia. Despite this, momentum…