Stockholm (NordSIP) – The Stockholm Sustainable Finance Centre, a ‘knowledge centre’ for sustainable investments, opened last week (November 29). The initiative by the Swedish government, in cooperation with the Stockholm School of Economics and the Stockholm Environment Institute, comes at the urging of the World Bank and has received a SEK 17 million investment over three years from the government.
According to Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, global public funding is a long way from being able to achieve the promises adopted at the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN SDGs set out in Agenda 2030 two years ago. Meeting the international obligations will require tens of billions of dollars in sustainable investment in developing and industrialised countries. “We cannot afford a single investment that is not sustainable,” Lövin told Dagens Nyheter, a Swedish daily.
The Stockholm Sustainable Finance Centre is one way Sweden is attempting to meet these needs. The government’s investment will enable the centre to conduct research, create knowledge and disseminate information on how the world’s financial markets can become more sustainable. The government hopes the Centre will increase opportunities for private investors to allocate their money to projects that protect the environment.
Swedish finance minister Per Bolund, who opened the new centre together with Lövin, highlighted Sweden’s considerable experience and expertise in sustainable investments. “Take for example green bonds,” Bolund told DN. “They didn’t exist before Sweden started working on them. Green bonds account for only 0.3% of the global bond market today, but a lot will happen in the next few years.” Bolund also pointed to the amended regulations for AP funds 1-4 proposed by the government, which will require the funds to invest more in sustainable development.
The AP funds have said some of the suggested changes don’t go far enough.
IFC, the World Bank’s private sector investment agency, has been encouraging Sweden over a longer period to create the new centre.
“But for [the centre] to succeed, and that it doesn’t just become a ‘greenwashing’ opportunity for companies, it is important to build up qualifications in sustainable investment also in developing countries,” Lövin said, alluding to the role the Stockholm Sustainable Finance Centre can play.
Sweden will hold a special meeting on climate financing at French President Emmanuel Macron’s follow-up conference to the 2015 Paris climate conference next week.
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