Aligning the financial system with sustainable development: pathways to scale

A new report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) identifies critical innovations in the US$300+ trillion global financial system, which, if brought to scale, could help close the widening sustainable development investment gap. The report is being launched at the World Economic Forum at Davos - at the outset of what promises to be a momentous year for sustainable development. Following the financial crisis, increasing focus is being placed on how the financial system can fulfill its underlying purpose to serve the long-term health of the global economy. The new publication, Pathways to Scale, is the 3rd progress report from the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System and draws on work across 12 countries and a range of critical sectors such as banking, insurance, investment and securities. A key problem is that financial markets still do not effectively price environmental resources, with the result that the value of natural capital stocks such as clean air, productive soils and abundant water is falling in 116 out of 140 countries across the world.