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The Paris Agreement has strengthened the call to the financial community to provide an essential contribution to climate action. To date, the focus of alignment efforts has principally been on what is financed – i.e. the individual projects or business activities. However, financial institutions of all types have recently been expanding the focus from the alignment of what is financed to also include an assessment of the alignment of who is financed. In response, in December 2020, marking the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, and in the follow up of the Finance in Common Summit, UNEP FI and the Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative are convening an informal FI Group on Aligning Financial Chains with the Paris Agreement.

The FI Group aims to share knowledge, experience and best practices, discuss emerging trends and develop possible guidance on how to advance the alignment of financial chains, from capital markets, corporate banking and institutional investors to development banks, commercial bank intermediaries and to the project/corporate level.

The FI Group will bring together on a voluntary and open basis interested financial institutions via a series of webinars for group exchange, peer learning and joint problem solving around three questions:

  • WHY financial institutions who committed to be “Paris aligned” have identified a need to focus on counterparties?
  • HOW are financial institutions assessing the alignment of counterparties?
  • WHAT are financial institutions doing with counterparties’ alignment assessments results, at strategic and/or operational levels?

Overview of the webinar:

This first webinar organized by the FI Group on Aligning Financial Chains with the Paris Agreement will focus on the reasons WHY financial institutions who committed to be “Paris aligned” have identified a need to focus on counterparties – and the initial steps they are taking to do so.

This webinar will be an opportunity for FI professionals from strategy and climate/sustainability departments to hear the insights of and exchange with peers from financial institutions from across the financial community.

This webinar is open to all financial institutions with a shared interest and ambition, no matter their level of progress in developing and implementing alignment approaches. It is open to representatives from individual institutions, including institutional investors (pension funds and insurers) such as those involved in the AOA, commercial banks taking part in the CCCA, public development banks such as MDBs and IDFC members, supporting institutions of the Climate Action in Financial Institutions initiative, and other interested financial entities and stakeholders.

Provisional Agenda:

13:00-13:05: Welcome remarks & Agenda

Representative, Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative

13:05-13:15: Keynote speech

Dharshan Wignarajah, Deputy Director, Finance and Resilience, COP26 Presidency (TBC)

13:15-14:15: Panel discussion “Why are financial institutions of all types increasingly focusing on the alignment of counterparties?”

  • Camille LAURENS-VILLAIN, Climate Finance Lead – Strategy Department, French Development Agency
  • Amal-Lee AMIN, Climate Change Director, CDC Group
  • Toni BALLABRIGA TORREGUITART, Global Head of Responsible Business, BBVA
  • Simon CONNELL, Global Head, Sustainability Strategy, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Speaker TBD – European Investment Bank
  • PensionDanmark (TBC)

Representatives of financial institutions from across the financial community will share insights on their experience in this area, focusing on:

  • why is the counterparty / client level important?
  • how are they currently approaching counterparty alignment assessments and an initial scoping of the challenges?
  • what shared work could the FI Group facilitate to advance joint practice in this area?

14:15-14:25: Q&A with Webinar Participants

14:25-14:30: Concluding remarks and road forward
Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FI

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