G20 must lead world to stable and sustainable development

Posted on August, 29 2016

The EU can set an example by acting to reduce investor climate risk

The EU can set an example by acting to reduce investor climate risk

Gland, Switzerland – 29 August 2016

Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies meeting in China later this week must help power a shift in financing towards environment-friendly investments that support people and the planet.

The G20 must help ensure that global finance supports sustainable development and values the natural world. They should implement without delay the recommendations from the G20 Green Finance Study Group, and notably provide clear and strong policy signals to investors regarding the strategic framework for green investment. This “green finance” approach should also discourage activities that damage the environment.

In addition, leaders should advance thinking on how financial markets can factor in the environmental and social risks associated with climate change, biodiversity loss and the degradation of natural resources.

“Green and responsible finance has the power to propel us toward an economically and environmentally sustainable future,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International. “The damage being done to our planet and our own well-being by short-sighted investments can no longer be ignored. The economic, environmental and human costs of risky financing are all too real and G20 leaders must act to minimize such risks now.”

In the EU, the European Commission has so far remained reluctant to act on the subject of sustainable investments, for example by introducing climate ‘stress tests’ for financial assets, despite increasing awareness from investors.

"Investors today are teetering on the edge of one of the biggest risk  to their assets – climate change.  Why has the European Commission still not addressed the need to tackle climate change through appropriate financial regulation? The risk of trillions of euros of assets being wiped out is far scarier than introducing urgently needed climate stress tests”, commented Geneviève Pons, director of WWF European Policy Office.

The G20 should also ensure that public financing supports sustainable development and environmental protection. G20 countries are the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitters and they need to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 while working toward providing clean and renewable energy access for all.

The G20 Leaders’ Summit opens in the city of Hangzhou on 4 September. The G20 includes the European Union and four EU Member States: Germany, France, Italy and the UK.
Ox cart passing in front of a derilict irrigation canal, Dindi Dam. The Dam was built by British colonial authorities to supply water in this wet-dry monsoonal area of India. In the last three years the dam has not filled causing great poverty locally. A government scheme that provides highly subsidised electricity to pump ground water, leading to massive over exploitation, is one reason for the lack of stored water. This region is also highly vulnerable to climate change.Dindi River, Andhra Pradesh, IndiaFebruary 2005
© WWF / Jamie Pittock