Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) used the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, as a platform to launch an inquiry into policy options for guiding the global financial system to invest in the transition to a green economy.

Mobilising the world’s capital is seen as an essential part of the transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy. It is reported that the green economy will require a capital intensive transition (up to US$6 trillion a year), with investment in new skills, institutions and technologies replacing resource use and pollution. Most flows within and between nations will be capital sourced from commercial financial institutions, institutional investors and public investment vehicles.

Building on the two pillars of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative and the UNEP Financial Initiative, the Inquiry will assemble the world’s best practice and forward looking expert knowledge through an Advisory Council; practitioner dialogues and research.

The Inquiry will be led by Two Co-Directors and a Head of Strategic Outreach from a Geneva base. Nick Robins, currently head of HSBC’s Centre for Excellence in Climate Change will be the Co-Director for Research, Dr Simon Zadek, Senior Fellow of the Global Green Growth Institute and the International Institute for Sustainable Development will be the Co-Director for Strategy, and Mahenau Agha will serve as the UNEP Advisor.

The Advisory Council, which is due to have its first meeting in April 2014, consists of twenty five financial regulators, executives of financial institutions, leading experts and policy makers. The full list of the twenty five members can be found at

The Inquiry, over a period of 18 months, hopes to produce, through widespread engagement and collaborative research, a series of outputs that map global good practice, develop principles, and lay out policy options for action, timed to benefit from and be channelled to key national and international initiatives and events. Anyone can get involved in the inquiry by submitting comments, proposing research topics and offering knowledge, capacities and other resources. Further information is available at or can be obtained by sending an email to