Global finance leaders discuss climate action, leadership at WEF

29 January 2010

DAVOS - The heads of Credit Agricole, HSBC, Munich Re, Standard Chartered and Swiss Re joined our Climate Principles event (view the brochure) at the World Economic Forum this morning.

The five institutions comprise the founding partners of the Climate Principles, the finance industry's landmark response to dealing with the risks and opportunities of climate change. The Climate Group is secretariat for the Climate Principles.

At the event, the leaders spoke of their commitment to address climate change across their business operations and strategy - and not only because it will be crucial for a sustainable economic recovery. 

"More and more companies will be committed to this area because investors will demand it", said Raj Singh, Chief Risk Officer, Swiss Re.

"For us as an insurance group, providing cover against natural disasters is a core business and we want to be a business with a long-term perspective," said Munich Re CEO Nikolaus Von Bomhard.

But action and leadership should be not be confined to the few. Stephen Green, Group Chairman of HSBC, stressed: "This is one area where one does not want to be competitively distinctive for very long. We want people to join us."

The group also underscored how the Climate Principles helps institutions incorporate climate change into their decisions.

"The Principles have provided us with a framework to facilitate the shift to a green economy. To date the bank has financed over US$4 billon across renewable and clean energy sectors," said Jaspal Bindra, Group Executive Director & CEO Asia Standard Chartered Bank.

New Adopter


The group also welcomed the latest industry adopter of the Climate Principles. Alain Grisay, CEO of F&C Asset Management, was clear on his business' commitment to the Principles.  Mr Grisay said, "One critical lesson from the credit crisis is that apparently rational, competitively-driven behaviour can have tragic consequences when there is a systemic failure to recognize and price in unconventional risks. 

"The Climate Principles represent our response to this crisis-in-the-making and our commitment to do something concrete and powerful to avert it."

The Climate Principles Progress Review

The event saw the launch of the Climate Principles Progress Review. This independent review, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, measures the progress adopters have taken in line with the Principles since being launched one year ago.

The review shows that significant action has been undertaken. But it also shows how financial institutions must now increase that  action to fully meet the commitments covered in the Climate Principles.

"It shows brave leadership indeed to press ahead in implementing the Climate Principles in the midst of an economic crisis," said Jon Williams, Partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers' Sustainability and Climate Change.

"We welcome the progress to date and we would encourage more progress and more disclosure in 2010 and beyond."

Steve Howard, CEO, The Climate Group summarized by saying, "The work of these institutions is extremely important and should be commended. It's a journey and we've started with a sense of purpose."

As Secretariat for the Climate Principles, The Climate Group looks forward to supporting and growing the group in 2010. 


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