Simon Zadek, sustainability expert who has long been active since 3 decades ago, declared that 2016 is the year of sustainable finance. Indeed, in recent years, he has become a leader in this field. With a position as co-chair of the UNEP Inquiry, of course his stance was not unfounded.
There are at least three major reports launched last year. All three were launched approaching the end of the year. First, The Financial System We Need: Momentum to Transformation, which was launched at the annual meeting of the IMF in early October. Second, Financing Sustainable Development: Moving from Momentum to Transformation in a Time of Turmoil, which was launched in early December. Lastly, Fintech and Sustainable Development, which was published in mid-December. Those reports actually enrich our understanding of sustainable finance. Also, increasingly show that sustainable finance means financial system aimed at achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
A series of sustainable financial themed activities also throughout 2016 calender. There was the launch of the Green Digital Finance Alliance in Davos, in January. The G20 meeting in Germany was also themed Greeninvest Initiative, which in 2017 will be proceed by the G7 meeting with Green Finance for SMEs as one of the focuses.
In Asia Pacific alone we witnessed various meetings. At the end of February there was Responsible Investor Asia event in Tokyo, which carries the theme Investing for Resilience. Then there were an event of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, PRI in Person, in early September, in Singapore. Then, most importantly, Sustainable Banking Network event in early December, held in Nusa Dua, Bali.
Definitely, 2016 shows incredible passion towards sustainable finance. However, passion is deemed inadequate. If we want to make an allignment at the fundamental level between the financial system and sustainable development, tough homeworks are still waiting. Therefore, we all need to ensure that passion on sustainable finance is getting even stronger in 2017, and it should be shown through concrete actions by all parties.