On 22 July 2021, the G20 environment ministers gathered in Naples committing to ‘continue and increase’ their efforts to address the triple crises of climate change, nature loss and pollution. Finance, both ‘green’ and ‘blue’ was on the agenda, as ministers highlighted the urgent need to direct financial flows and mobilise finance sources to align with biodiversity, ocean, land degradation, and climate targets.
In the issued communique, the ministers highlighted the need to ‘increase financial flows for sustainable development including for nature, biodiversity and ecosystems,’ whilst urging financial institutions and actors to make increased efforts to consider conservation and sustainable use of the environment in their financial and corporate decision making and reporting.
The G20 ministers recognised the importance of work related to nature-related financial disclosures, welcoming the establishment of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD); the global market-led initiative which aims to provide financial institutions and corporates with a complete picture of their environmental risks and opportunities. UNEP FI is among the founding partners of the TNFD.
The communique also addressed the health of the oceans and seas, reflecting on the serious threat they are under due to climate change and other stressors. The ministers called for increased actions to be taken to “conserve, protect, restore and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources” in line with some of the key platforms and frameworks available globally.
Financial Institutions wishing to take action on ocean health can look to UNEP FI’s Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative, which focuses on the intersection between ocean health and private finance. The UN-convened initiative brings a global community of banks, insurers and investors committed to implementing the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles across their activities and thus transitioning ocean-related sectors towards a sustainable future. Recently, the Principles were endorsed by the government of Portugal at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group in April of this year.
With the G20 environment ministers emphasising ‘the role and renewed focus of the G20 in supporting the realignment of financial flows in line with sustainable growth,’ UNEP FI invites financial institutions the world over to sign the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles and begin the urgent work needed to align finance with an ocean-positive future.