30 business leaders promote sustainable investments

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UNITED NATIONS (PA) – Thirty top business leaders are looking to encourage private investment to help the UN meet development goals for 2030, including tackling climate change, preserving the environment, eradicating poverty, promoting economic growth and improving health care and education.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who launched the Global Investors Alliance for Sustainable Development two years ago, told a virtual meeting on Tuesday that he was counting on the group “to further catalyze investments for developing countries and make net zero (carbon emissions) and sustainability at the heart of everyone’s policies and business models.

Since its inception, according to the Alliance of Business Leaders, it has worked with the UN and other partners to develop standards, tools and products to attract long-term investments in sustainable development.

UN chief economist Elliott Harris told a press conference after Tuesday’s virtual meeting that there has long been a perception that traditional investments “will generate more financial returns than sustainable investment “.

“More and more, this is no longer true,” he argued. “Sustainable investments generate very healthy financial returns and have the advantage of contributing in the longer term to greater sustainability. “

Harris said that one of the important aspects of the alliance’s work is “the fact that we are not asking people to go out and do something that is against their own best interests”, but rather to ask them to do something that is against their own best interests. persuade that there is no financial disadvantage and that such investments contribute “to a more sustainable future”.

What’s also important, he said, is that stock exchanges provide evidence that the return on sustainable investments is comparable.

Group co-chair Leila Fourie, CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange group, said the group’s underlying goal is to overcome barriers to transferring much larger sums of money to meet the goals of the group. UN.

“We are seeing huge investor interest in products that adequately channel finance explicitly for green, blue or social purposes,” she said, referring to green investments to preserve the environment and tackling global warming, blue investments to preserve the world’s waterways and save the oceans and social investments to fund social initiatives aimed at solving a multitude of problems, including the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fourie said she was launching blue, green and social bonds, “and we are also on the verge of launching a bridging bond” to enable companies that consume a lot of fossil fuels to switch to a greener environment.

On the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, “our social bond index has beaten our benchmarks in terms of the returns it offers over the past three years,” she said.

New data has also shown “that sustainable businesses are less prone to severe shocks and upheavals from, for example, oil spills or regulatory fines,” Fourie said.

Over the past two years, the alliance said, it has established a web-based platform to enable investors to identify opportunities in developing markets that support sustainability and a browser to enable users to ” align their business activities with the objectives of the United Nations. It also made more than 60 recommendations to increase investment in the lenses.

Alliance co-chair Oliver Bate, CEO of German company Allianz SE, said that with the upcoming launch of a net zero climate exchange-traded fund and a blended finance fund to invest in sustainable infrastructure “we are moving towards creating real opportunities to finance” the UN objectives.

The alliance’s business leaders come from approximately 24 countries around the world and include corporations, large institutional investors, stock exchanges and commercial banks, as well as the technology, energy and financial sectors. the making.

Among them are the CEOs of Citigroup and Bank of America in the United States, UBS Group in Switzerland, Aware Super in Australia, CIMB in Malaysia, Infosys in India and Pal Pensions in Nigeria as well as the presidents of the Agricultural Bank of China, Emirates Environmental Group and SulAmerica in Brazil, and the chairmen of the Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan and the Consejo Mexicano de Negocios of Mexico.

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