LONDON, February 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Dmitry Leus, writing in EU Today, welcomed the fact that, with the US withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords, European governments have stepped forward to fill the gap and try to lead on climate change.
However, he commented that we should be very clear that environmental responsibility is not something that will come simply from government decrees: "The world of finance and investment has an important function to play in ensuring a commitment to protecting the environment and a sustainable economy. Indeed, the Paris Climate Accords themselves spelled out in December 2015, for the first time, the crucial role the financial sector can play in tackling the environmental challenges we face."
Mr Leus welcomed the attitudes seen among investors at Davos last month: "Commentators at the recent World Economic Forum challenged us to go much deeper. The WEF has just released its Global Risks Perception Survey, which cited climate change-related issues as the top problem facing the world. We heard many at Davos pointing out that, far from seeing our responsibility to tackle climate change as a burden or an obligation, we should genuinely see it as a financial opportunity."
Mr Leus also welcomed the development that the potential for a financial role in climate change is beginning to be harnessed and driven by European-wide policy. He praised the setting up of an EU High Level Group on Sustainable Finance that aims to put the European Union economy on a more sustainable path. Mr Leus wrote: "The experts of this group have recommended to the European Commission that priority investment areas should be defined. They would also like to see clarification of investor duties. These experts also advise the development of 'official' European Sustainability Standards for green bonds. The Standard and Poor's ratings agency predicts that the green bond market will increase more than 30 percent this year and reach $200 billion. The EU High Level Group on Sustainable Finance wants this to go further. This experts' Report is expected to be followed up with a comprehensive Action Plan in the first half of March 2018."
Mr Leus added: "The Report of the EU High Level Group on Sustainable Finance contains a set of ground-breaking sustainable finance recommendations. It is significant because it is the first policy direction and brief that has been released on this topic. It clarifies how the EU can lead on sustainable finance and this is especially welcome as it demonstrates the strong, coordinated approach that will likely be needed going forward and across other regions. It's clearly the kind of direction that is needed, as meeting this finance challenge for climate action is going to need a coordinated effort. The Report is also a strong example of how a broad consultation across the field can be effective in forming policy."
Mr Leus said of the report: "The spectrum of those participating really was broad, as it included banks, insurers, asset managers, stock exchanges, financial industry associations and civil society groups. Usually these diverse stakeholders find it hard to agree but they succeeded in reaching a strong consensus."
Mr Leus concluded: "Of course, with finance, everything is interconnected and it is truly global. Europe's initiative after the US withdrawal from the Paris Accord is especially welcome in terms of leading an international campaign on sustainable finance. Europe can use its voice at other institutions to ensure that finance really is a driver in the fight against climate change."
About East-West Connect
East-West Connect is a London-based forum focused on investment risk and opportunity in Central and Eastern Europe. We provide news and analysis about the investment and economic climate of the region.
East-West Connect was founded by Dmitry Leus, an entrepreneur and banking and financial services professional.
SOURCE East-West Connect