Sydney, 2 April 2019: BCSD Australia welcomes the creation of the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI), which includes BCSD Australia member organizations IAG, National Australia Bank, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), QBE Insurance and Australian Ethical Investment. The Chair of BCSD Australia, Dr. John Hewson, is part of the steering committee for the Initiative.
The ASFI is an unprecedented collaboration to help shape an Australian economy that prioritizes human wellbeing, social equity and environmental protection, while underpinning financial system stability, in what it says is a ‘critical decade’ ahead. Modelled on international best practice already seen in groups including the European Union’s High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and the UK’s Green Finance Taskforce, the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative will be guided by a Steering Committee charged with developing a set of recommendations to enable the finance sector to contribute more systematically to the transition to a more resilient and sustainable economy.
A priority of the Initiative will be to create a Sustainable Finance Roadmap to better enable the financial services sector to contribute to delivering on international commitments, such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals while underpinning economic stability and prosperity for Australia.
Hewson told the Australian Financial Review that at this stage the initiative has a very ‘broad remit’ to address not just climate change but also social and governance issues. “The idea is to pull these various risks and tensions and put a roadmap together as to how the financial sector should be positioning itself.”
Hewson joined BCSD Australia as new Chair in October 2018. He is a leading voice on business, economics and action on climate change with experience in academia, business, government, media and the financial system. He is also the Chair of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at ANU.
“John’s expertise and pragmatic business approach will be invaluable through the work and leadership of our Australian business member community on climate action, as well as integrating social and environmental impacts with financial results, lowering their risk profile, making better decisions and leading the solutions that are laid out in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, said Andrew Petersen, CEO of BCSD Australia in October 2018.
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