UNEP FI Signatories based in Europe are included in UNEP FI’s Working Group for Europe, which provides a pan-European platform to address region-specific sustainability issues and gaps. The Europe Working Group also provides regional perspectives to inform UNEP FI’s overall work programme. 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.
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.
UNEP FI activities in Europe focus on:
- Building and reinforcing partnerships with European players and national networks promoting sustainable finance in Western Europe / European Union: UNEP FI works towards building and reinforcing synergies with strategic actors in the European Union and other Western European countries across sustainable finance, including industry associations, sustainable finance specific fora, multilateral and development financial institutions, policy-makers and regulators, academia, etc.. UNEP FI shares information, contributes to consultations and explores opportunities for partnerships in areas such as policy dialogue, research, event organization and tool development. In addition, UNEP FI liaises with national networks and platforms in which UNEP FI members are involved, to facilitate knowledge sharing with the goal of contributing to the dynamics of the sustainable finance in the region.
- Engaging with the Sustainable Finance policy initiatives of the European Union: In 2019/2020, UNEP FI was an observer to the EC Technical Expert Group (TEG) responsible for developing the EU sustainable finance taxonomy. It continues its work as an observer at the Platform on Sustainable Finance and the International Platform for Sustainable Finance. UNEP FI together with the EBF has been testing the applicaiton of the EU Taxonomy to core banking products. UNEP FI also works closely with the European Investment Bank on the taxonomy and other sustainable finance developments as well as with EC´s DG MARE and European Investment Bank to establish norms for financial institutions to ensure a sustainable blue economy in financing of ocean-related sectors.
- Raising the awareness and building the capacity of finance institutions on social and environmental risks and opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe: UNEP FI’s priorities in non-EU members starts in Central and Eastern Europe are to raise awareness of the link between environment and social issues and finance, and to build the capacity of financial institutions to integrate environmental and social issues into traditional financial operations. UNEP FI also strives to support and facilitate local initiatives promoting the adoption of sustainable business practices by the finance sector. UNEP FI started to build a presence in Central and Eastern Europe in 2004.
Flagship project: Banking & EU Taxonomy
As a flagship project in 2021, UNEP FI and the European Banking Federation (EBF) are working with 24 banks to develop industry guidelines for operationalizing the application of the EU Taxonomy across core banking products, This project has close ties also with the work happening in the EU Sustainable Finance Platform and will also draw with the expertise of public sector observers into its work.
This project builds on the work undertaken in 2020, UNEP FI with the EBF and 26 European and international banks to test the EU Sustainable Finance 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.
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.
Climate Bonds Initiative (United Kingdom)
ClimateWise (United Kingdom)
Dutch Association of Insurers (The Netherlands)
Earth Security Group (United Kingdom)
Environment & Security Initiative (Switzerland)
Finance Norway (Finance Norway)
Forum per la Finanza Sostenibile (Italy)
International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Impact Insurance Facility (Switzerland)
International Cooperative & Mutual Insurance Federation (United Kingdom)
Italian Federation of Banks, Insurers and Finance (FeBAF) (Italy)
Global Organizational Learning & Development Network for Sustainability (Belgium)
National Committee on International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (The Netherlands)
Oceana Europe (Spain)
University of Westminster (United Kingdom)
Verein für Umweltmanagement und Nachhaltigkeit in Finanzinstituten (VfU) (Germany)