Founded in 1992 in the context of the Earth Summit in Rio, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) was established as a platform associating the United Nations and the financial sector globally. The need for this unique United Nations partnership arose from the growing recognition of the links between finance and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges, and the role financial institutions could play for a more sustainable world. UNEP FI is continuously building its membership, and works closely with over 200 members, who have signed the UNEP FI Statement of Commitment. The membership is made up of public and private financial institutions from around the world and is balanced between developed and developing countries. They recognize sustainability as part of a collective responsibility and support approaches to anticipate and prevent potential negative impacts on the environment and society.
Banking, insurance and investment, the three main sectors of finance, are represented and brought together in this unique partnership. In addition, UNEP FI develops selective collaborations, UN-driven and finance sector-driven, with other partner organizations, in order to increase awareness and raise support for critical activities. UNEP FI contributes the perspectives of financial institutions to the various United Nations and global activities on sustainable finance.
- The Initiative's work includes:
- 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.
UNEP's cross-cutting themes are embedded throughout UNEP FI's activities, specifically in its thematic work areas of Climate Change, Ecosystems Management, Energy Efficiency and Social Issues.
UNEP FI’s mission is to bring about systemic change in finance to support a sustainable world, and is highlighted in its motto, Changing finance, financing change.
Its mottoChanging finance, financing changereflects a vision of a sustainable world economy that needs to be supported by a sustainable financial system.
Changing finance: promoting the integration of sustainability concerns into mainstream financial system, and financial institutions’ operations and decisions in all markets, as well as in their general business and governance.
Financing change: mobilizing finance to foster a more sustainable economy.