UNEP Finance Initiative

UNEP Finance Initiative (1992, Geneva; ~30 staff; unepfi.org)

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.


Leadership: Eric Usher (Head)

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