Financing the Road to Rio

July 23rd, 2011  |  Source:


Important discussions lie ahead on the road to Rio + 20 for the global investment community - UNEP FI Global Roundtable 2011, and GLOBE 2012.   

Banking and investment organizations worldwide are monitoring developments in the international financial markets preparatory to the Rio + 20 Earth Summit taking place in Rio de Janeiro, in June 2012.

The planned landmark gathering of leaders from the worlds of politics, business and civil society - marking the 20th anniversary of the original 1992 Rio Earth Summit - is being viewed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to show how far sustainable finance and responsible investment has travelled since the early 1990s.

Two key themes or goals will be at the center of negotiations when leaders from business and governments gather in Rio next year. These are: creating the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and putting in place the institutional framework for sustainable development.

The achievement of both is totally dependent upon the existence of a stable and responsible global banking, insurance and investment sector capable of marshalling the resources needed to finance the transition to a low carbon future.

Many see Rio+20 as humanity's last change to get it right in terms of financing the transition to global economy less dependent upon greenhouse gas generating fossil fuels.

To this end, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the Vancouver-based GLOBE Foundationare working together to stimulate discussion and action on how the worldwide financial services and investment communities should collaborate during the run up to the Rio+20 Summit.

An invitation has been sent by the leaders of UNEP-FI and the GLOBE Foundation to the Chairs, Presidents, and Heads of Secretariats of 60 sustainable finance and responsible investment initiatives worldwide.

UNEP FI is a global partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the international financial sector. It consists of over 190 institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers working with UNEP to understand the impacts of environmental and social considerations on financial performance.

The GLOBE Foundation is Canada's leading organizer of global events that promote the business of the environment.

The financial services community has many serious lessons to learn and to internalize in the wake of the shocking destruction of value that resulting from the recent financial market crisis that precipitated major economic hardships in many nations around the world, notes Paul Clements-Hunt, Head of the UNEP Finance Initiative and one of the signatories to the invitation.

However, he adds, while the aftershocks of that crisis are still being felt,  there is another finance and capital market story to tell - essentially a good, positive narrative that must be told collectively in the run up to, during and following Rio+20.

The first opportunity for the global banking, insurance and investment communities to demonstrate that they are becoming more active in the fields of sustainable finance and responsible investment is the UNEP FI Global Roundtabletaking place in, Washington D.C., 19-20 October, 2011 - eight months ahead of Rio +20.

Under the theme 'The Tipping Point - Sustained Stability in the Next Economy' the Roundtable will feature presentations by   Clements-Hunt, Barbara Krumsiek, Chief Executive Officer, Calvert, Kathy Bardswick, Chief Executive Officer, Co-operators, Rick Lacaille, Global Chief Investment Officer, State Street Global Advisors, and Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP.  

Other speakers confirmed to speak include former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, financial pundit and author of The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb, and Canada's Research in Motion's CEO, James Balsillie.  

The second dialogue opportunity is GLOBE 2012 - taking place in Vancouver just three months before Rio+20.

Experts from financial institutions, venture capital firms, and governments will gather in Vancouver to explore the relationship between sustainable development and finance, with a focus on clean technology investment, regulation and policy, capital markets, and responsible investment strategies.

All of these will be crucial to the success of any post-Kyoto accord that could emerge from the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

Speakers, conference delegates and visiting dignitaries who will be part of GLOBE 2012 will include some of the most significant financial actors and thinkers in the field of sustainable finance. Over the years, GLOBE Conferences have drawn the 'best and brightest' of the international sustainable business community, making GLOBE an outstanding networking opportunity.

The significance of these two events as dry runs for the Rio + 20 Earth Summit cannot be underestimated.  

Just as the inaugural GLOBE Series event - 'GLOBE 90' in Vancouver helped set the stage for the original Rio Earth Summit in 1992, together the UNEP FI Global Roundtable and GLOBE 2012 will bring empower the business leaders with the ideas on sustainable finance that will be the backbone of any post-Kyoto accord.

Further information on the UNEP FI Global Roundtable is available here. 

More information on GLOBE 2012 is available here.


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