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.
Layalee Ramahi, North America Regional Coordinator