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The UNEP Finance Initiative engaged a broad range of financial institutions, including commercial banks, investment banks, venture capitalists, asset managers, and multilateral development banks and agencies, to discuss the nexus between economic development, environmental protection, and sustainable development. The UNEP launched a similar initiative with insurance and reinsurance companies.

Both initiatives were merged in 2003 to become the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). Through peer-to-peer networks, research and training, UNEP FI carries out its mission to identify, promote, and realize the adoption of best environmental and sustainability practice at all levels of financial institution operations. The UNEP FI is supported by two statements: the UNEP Statement by Banks on the Environment and Sustainable Development and the UNEP Statement of Environmental Commitment by the Insurance Industry. The Statements require companies to state 1) their commitment to sustainable development, 2) how the commitment will be incorporated and managed, and 3) how this will be communicated externally.

By signing up to the Statements, financial institutions publicly recognize the role of the financial services sector in achieving a balance of economic development, the welfare of people, and a sound environment by committing to integrating environmental considerations into all aspects of their operations. Currently, there are almost 200 signatories to the UNEP FI from over 40 countries.

For more on the UNEP Statement by financial institutions on the Environment and Sustainable Development, see www.unepfi.org/signatories/statements/fi.


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