UNEP Finance Initiative

Founding Year:

Staff: 30


Eric Usher (Head)

A platform associating the UN and the financial sector globally “to bring about systemic change in finance to support a sustainable world”. Over 200 members have signed the Statement of Commitment. Membership includes public and private financial institutions, and is balanced between developed and developing countries. Banking, insurance and investment are the three main sectors.


  • Capacity building and the sharing of best practices
  • Pioneering research and tools
  • Setting global standards and principles
  • Engaging stakeholders, both public and private
  • Facilitating the networking of members and stakeholders through global events and regional activities.

Work Streams:

  • Banking – UNFI’s largest constituency, concentration on innovative ways of addressing sustainability issues in the banking sector, e.g., the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles.
  • Climate Change – Policy and strategy, outreach, tools, and training; e.g., issuing a joint statement from 285 investors representing more than $20 trillion in assets, stressing the urgent need for policy action addressing climate change.
  • Insurance – Promoting global adoption and implementation of the Principles for Sustainable Insurance; 83 organizations have adopted the Principles, including insurers representing approximately 20% of world premium volume and $14 trillion in assets under management.
  • Investment – Exploring how material, social, environmental, and governance considerations can best be incorporated into investment practice.
  • Property – Analyzing the role of financial institutions in promoting sustainable development in the real estate and property finance sectors.
  • Sustainability Management and Reporting – Developing the Global Reporting Initiative Financial Services Sector Supplement on environmental performance.
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – Turning the financial services sector’s attention to loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services.
  • Finance and Conflict – Developing the business case for the financial sector to engage proactively in conflict prevention.
  • Human Rights and Finance – How human rights relate to the activities of financial institutions worldwide, so financial professionals can make responsible decisions within their spheres of influence.
  • Water and Finance – Promoting proactivity by financial institutions through awareness raising and capacity building.



UNEP Finance Initiative contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
    Calls for an end to poverty globally by 2030 and promotes increased access to basic services and social protection.
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  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
    Aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
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  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being
    Aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, by reducing mortality rates and increasing access to equitable health care for men and women.
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  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
    Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
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  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
    Aims to end gender discrimination in all forms and promote equal opportunity for all women and girls in terms of education, career, and sexual/reproductive rights.
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  • SDG 6 -Clean Water and Sanitisation
    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by promoting global access to adequate sanitation and hygiene.
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  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
    Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by promoting affordable and reliable energy sources.
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  • SDG 8 -Decent Work and Economic Growth
    Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
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  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
    Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.  
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  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
    Aims to achieve economic growth by reducing inequalities regarding social, economic and political opportunities and freedoms.
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  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
    Aims to promote the globalization of sustainable cities and communities in turn providing universal safe and affordable housing.
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  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
    Aims to create responsible and sustainable practices involving consumption and production through efficiently using natural resources.
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  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
    Calls to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts through global awareness, education, and integration into government policies.
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  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
    Calls to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development and prevent and reduce marine pollution in order to protect ecosystems and achieve healthy oceans.
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  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
    Aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
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  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
    Aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Calls to reduce all forms of violence and deaths related to violence and to end abuse and exploitation
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  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
    Aims to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development by mobilizing domestic resources in order to provide support for developing countries.
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