The financial sector has an essential role to play in addressing global environmental and social crises. A dramatic transformation of energy, food and waste systems is needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030. This transformation requires a transition towards sustainable businesses models and related production and consumption. These models are influenced by what is financed and how it is financed, so the financial sector has a very important role to play in addressing these challenges. Many of the indicators for the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not moving in the right direction. Initially designed to be fulfilled by governments and multilateral banks, it is now widely acknowledged that financing of the SDGs cannot be delivered without private capital.
This brief explores ways in which the financial sector is starting to play a catalytic role in financing businesses to transition towards delivering environmentally sustainable food, energy and waste systems. It provides insight into how the financial sector is changing to better contribute to the UN Paris Agreement goals and SDGs. It includes recommendations on how financial institutions can accelerate this shift in order to more rapidly transform public and private companies into businesses that contribute to achieving the SDGs while avoiding environmental degradation, restoring ecosystems and eliminating pollution.