Money Matters Director Dr Rodger Spiller is participating as a sustainable investment expert in a ground-breaking new initiative, the New Zealand Sustainable Finance Forum that is designing a roadmap to help New Zealand shift to a financial system that supports economic, social and environmental outcomes. The forum will identify opportunities and make recommendations to help align New Zealand’s financial system with 21st century sustainability challenges such as meeting New Zealand’s Paris commitments around reducing our emissions and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The forum is an initiative of The Aotearoa Circle – a unique partnership of public and private sector leaders who are committed to the pursuit of sustainable prosperity and reversing the decline of New Zealand’s natural resources. The Sustainable Finance Forum is The Aotearoa Circle’s first project. The leaders involved recognise the need to realign the financial system and to ultimately ensure that the long-term consequences of financial practices contribute to, and do not undermine, sustainable development. They have chosen to dedicate their time and expertise to make it happen.
New Zealand’s sustainable finance agenda is running in parallel with Australia’s. Both countries, however, trail Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom, who, among other international peers, have begun designing and implementing roadmaps to sustainable financial systems. The work of global organisation, the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative, has been critical in laying out a framework for how countries can approach this systemic issue. The Sustainable Finance Forum has an ambitious work programme, including a significant period of engagement and deliberation over the next 6 months before delivering an interim report towards the end of 2019, a final report in early 2020, followed by a roadmap for implementation.
“This is the time to take a collective approach to reverse the state of our nature - trends in a number of critical areas are getting worse. It won’t be easy, but if we invest our time and resources in the right places, we have an opportunity to make a difference,” says Vicky Robertson, Secretary for the Environment and member of The Aotearoa Circle governance team.
“It is appropriate that the first workstream coming out of The Aotearoa Circle relates to the financial system – because it is the financial system that underpins and influences so many other parts of our society,” said Co-chair and NZ Super Fund’s Chief Executive Matt Whineray.
“Sustainable finance is ultimately about the long-term – bringing the long term consequences of financial practices into today’s investment and lending decisions, and making investment commitments where the value will be realised over the long term. This expenditure and business expertise is needed if we are to find lasting solutions to the very significant challenges facing our country – climate change, environmental degradation, poverty and homelessness. Banks, investors and insurers play a vital role in facilitating the flow of capital to the projects and innovations needed to achieve our sustainable development goals.”