New initiative launched to steer Australian economy through “critical decade”

New initiative launched to steer Australian economy through “critical decade” | Insurance Business

New initiative launched to steer Australian economy through “critical decade”

Three insurance bosses have joined a new initiative designed to set out a roadmap for realigning the finance sector to support greater social, environmental, and economic outcomes for Australia.

IAG’s Jacki Johnson, QBE’s Mark Joiner, and Swiss Re’s Mark Senkevics are among the financial sector leaders who have signed up for the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative – a collaboration that will help shape an Australian economy that prioritises human wellbeing, social equity, and environmental protection, while underpinning financial system stability, in what it described as a “critical decade” ahead.

“This unique and high-level collaboration will set out a roadmap for achieving this goal and shows the willingness of the financial services sector to step up and play an active role in building a more sustainable and resilient economy for all Australians,” said Simon O’Connor, initiative co-chair and CEO of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).

The initiative, 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, will be guided by a steering committee that is set to deliver an Australian Sustainable Finance Roadmap in 2020.

The roadmap will contain recommendations that will assist the financial services sector to:

  • Mobilise capital to deliver on national and global sustainable development and climate goals;
  • Embed sustainability, climate, and human rights considerations into financial markets and products;
  • Enhance disclosures and transparency on environmental, social, and governance risks and opportunities; and
  • Deliver a financial system that meets community expectations around sustainability.

“The roadmap we create will include pathways, policy signals, and frameworks that will 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,” said Johnson, IAG group executive and co-chair of the initiative.

The initiative also included leaders from ANZ, Bank Australia, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corporation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australian Ethical Investment, Pendal Group, University of Technology Sydney, Minter Ellison, Principles of Responsible Investment, ClimateWorks, Cbus, Investor Group on Climate Change, and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.