In 2015, two major global agreements paved the way for climate and sustainability to take on a more important role in decisions affecting policy, society and the wider economy.
- The Paris Agreement enshrined in international law the 2-degree Celsius global warming limit and the decarbonisation of the economy.
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are 17 global goals with 169 sub-goals to be achieved by 2030. They were approved by the UN member states as the way towards sustainable global development. The objectives include the provision and protection of an affordable and environmentally sustainable energy supply (goal 7) and measures to protect the climate (goal 13).
Video: Can the financial market also be environmentally friendly? Peter Herzog, sustainability manager at BayernLB, on the significance of green finance – also for the financial sector
These two agreements sparked intense discussions on “green finance” and “sustainable finance”, and the role of the financial sector in achieving climate and sustainability objectives – both on a political level and within the financial sector itself.
Green finance covers a wide range of highly diverse areas under the topics of climate and environmental protection:
- Economic issues surrounding a financial system that is structured in a climate-friendly and environmentally-friendly way
- Financing investments required for a “green” transformation, for example through innovative instruments such as green bonds
- The comprehensive management of climate risks in financial institutions
The topic of “sustainable finance” looks beyond climate and environmental issues to encompass the social aspects of sustainable development. This includes the financial sector’s contribution to the achievement of the relevant objectives. With the Sustainable Development Goals as a starting point, the contribution of the financial sector includes fighting poverty and hunger and creating access to education and medical care.