UNEP FI carries out its activities in North America through the North American Working Group in Canada and the United States. The Group is working to advance the adoption and integration of sustainability in the financial industry in North America through working with signatory members to address region-specific sustainability issues.

The region is experiencing significant changes and innovations that are driving the sustainability discussion forward, especially for the financial industry. Rising levels of awareness are driving demand for more sustainable and impact investing, while increasing the interest of the industry in the risks and opportunity associated with sustainability and climate change.

Financial institutions are aware of the central role they play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNEP FI works with members to advance the progress towards meeting the 2030 Agenda and building a sustainable future.

Cities across the region are working towards aligning their strategies to the SDGs and fight climate change, building a roadmap for a more sustainable and resilient future.  Financing the transition to a low-carbon economy is a key discussion for the industry among banks, investors and insurers in North America.

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 the region. UNEP FI provides a network for members in order to facilitate sharing of information and best practice between financial institutions, support engagement with relevant stakeholders in the sustainable finance space in the region and provide access to UNEP FI industry and thematic including workshops and online training courses.

To advance the sustainable finance agenda and meet the demands of the region, UNEP FI works with Signatories, Regional Advisors and regional stakeholders and associations to implement the strategy in the region.

UNEP FI activities in North America focus on:

  • To provide a platform for North American Signatories to exchange ideas and best practice in the area of sustainable finance in the banking, investment and insurance industries.
  • To raise awareness of specific environmental and social issues, such as climate change, and its impact on the North American financial sector.
  • To provide capacity building and identify risks and opportunities related to social and environmental issues for the financial services industry in North America to build industry leadership on climate change.

Key initiatives and developments in North America:

  • Under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA) that passed in 2018 and came into effect in April 2019, Canada imposed a landmark carbon tax on four provinces that did not establish carbon pricing standards that meet government requirements.
  • Government of Canada establish the Export Panel on Sustainable Finance, they have released an Interim Report that provides an overview of sustainable finance in Canada.
  • An innovative partnership for disaster risk management between UNEP FI and Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative to bring together US Mayors and insurance industry leaders to discuss climate risk mitigation and resilience along the Mississippi River Corridor.
  • Bloomberg announced the formation of the S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance (USASF) and will join the global network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) convened by the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • The United States releases the fourth National Climate Assessment that summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.

Members

Financial institutions based in North America which are UNEP FI Signatories

Contact

Layalee Ramahi, North America Regional Coordinator

Layalee.ramahi@un.org

6 December 2019

Canadian Members of UNEP FI Sign Statement of Support to the Final Report of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance

Several Canadian members of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative support the final recommendations of Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance – Mobilizing Finance for Sustainable Growth. A statement that affirms financial institutions commitment to support the transition to a sustainable economy. The membership-led effort convened twelve organizations to affirm their commitment to mobilize…

24 September 2018 | 10 on the Park, New York

Insurance & Climate Risk Americas: The insurers role in avoiding the next big source of systematic risk in the financial system

This one-day conference brings together the investment, risk, actuarial and underwriting teams to discuss and learn what roles they can play in response to the multidimensional effect of climate risk to their businesses as well as the opportunities it may bring. UNEP FI's Butch Bacani, Programme Leader of the Principles for Sustainable Insurance, will deliver a keynote presentation on climate change action and sustainable development in the context of the insurance industry, financial regulation and global policy frameworks. Discount available for UNEP FI members.

24 January 2017

New York State Pension Fund joins Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition

January 24, 2017 In the latest demonstration of institutional asset owners’ commitment to climate action, New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third largest public pension fund in the US with $184.5 billion in assets, has joined the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition. The Common Retirement Fund is the first major US pension fund to join the Coalition’s 28…

4 June 2020 | Webinar

Webinar: Developments in Climate Regulation and Disclosures with SASB

UNEP FI and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) webinar to discuss the evolving world of climate regulation and TCFD disclosures. SASB will share perspectives on their standards and their relationship to climate risk. UNEP FI will discuss findings from its latest TCFD pilot projects.

22-25 September 2019 | New York

Regional Roundtable on Sustainable Finance in North America

UNEP FI’s Regional Roundtable in North America will take place during UN General Assembly week, alongside Climate Week and the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23-25 September 2019, New York.

25 September 2019 | New York City

Sustainable Investment Forum North America 2019

Join UNEP FI and Climate Action at the Sustainable Investment Forum North America to hear industry experts discuss climate risks and opportunities, financing the action needed to meet climate & sustainability targets, sustainable investment and much more.

26 September 2018 | New York

Sustainable Investment Forum North America: Financing Innovation for a Low Carbon Future

The Sustainable Investment Forum North America, held in partnership with UNEP Finance Initiative, is the premier meeting space for sustainable finance professionals. Back for its 3rd edition in September 2018 during Climate Week NYC, the forum will welcome over 300 attendees representing asset owners and managers, banks, development institutions, policymakers, think tanks and NGOs looking to drive the sustainability agenda.

The Financing of Green Buildings in North America

, 4 March 2010 | Toronto, Canada As part of its 2009 Work Programme, the NATF explored the role of the financial sector in the financing and/or adoption of green buildings in North America. The report, “Green Buildings and the Finance Sector – An Overview of Financial Institution Involvement in Green Buildings in North America”…

Assessing the Value of Sustainability Indices and Disclosure Initiatives

2 October 2008 | Boston USA The North American Taskforce´s 2008 workshop was held at State Street Corporation Headquarters in Boston, attracting over 60 participants. Discussions centered on disclosure of environmental, social and governance issues. The highly interactive event aimed at discussing why non-financial disclosure matters, what the drivers for disclosure are, to which different…

Show more

Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century – Untangling Stakeholders for Broader Impact: ERISA Plans and ESG Incorporation

In September 2018, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and The Generation Foundation in collaboration with Godeke Consulting released Untangling Stakeholders for Broader Impact: ERISA Plans and ESG Incorporation. This report explores the United States private sector retirement market that is regulated through the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of…

Show more