22-23 October 2001 - Paris (France)
"The financial services sector has the power to direct financial Resources towards projects or companies that have demonstrated good environmental performance. A growing number of managers in the sector have become aware of the need to better evaluate the environmental risks associated with their decisions, as well as the market opportunities provided by sustainable development initiatives."
Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director United Nations Environment Programme
UNEP is proposing a Workshop on the Environment that gathers members of the UNEP Finance Initiatives and Export Credit Agencies to exchange information on environmental issues relevant to the finance, insurance and export guarantee sectors to look specifically at how environmental and social concerns can be integrated into business operations in practice.
The workshop is designed to help the sector overcome some of the barriers with regard to both reduction of risk through environmental screening and support of more sustainable technologies and projects.
This workshop was structured around three sessions:
- Key Environmental Issues and Challenges
- Implementation of Environmental Screening
- Sustainability and Finance Instruments
The workshop provided a resource of practical information drawing principally on a case study method and is therefore targeted at technical staff of the respective financial institutions - underwriters, loan officers and environmental experts.
Session 1: Key Environmental Issues and Challenges
This session set the scene of the workshop by giving an overview of some of the most pressing environmental challenges of the 21st century, including:
- Climate change and atmosphere pollution
An overview of the scientific background was followed by a summary of the economic, social and environmental impacts and a brief on the existing international legal frameworks. The focus of the presentations was on the relevance of these issues to the finance sector, with the linkage between trade and environment an underlying theme throughout.
- Climate change - The Science and Legal Framework. Mr. Michel Petit, International Panel on Climate Change
- Climate Change - The Financial Perspective.
Dr. Armin Sandhövel, Dresdner Bank. UNEP FI Climate Change Working Group
- Degradation, Conservation and the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity and the Relevance to the Financial Sector.
Mr. Frank Vorhies, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- Water Scarcity, Conflict and Development.
Mr. Jeremy Bird, Dams Development Unit
Session 2: Implementation of Environmental Screening
At the heart of the workshop, this session covered the full project assessment cycle including screening and Environmental Impact Assessment. The aim of this session was to demonstrate that taking into account environmental considerations ultimately makes for better business, is feasible without compromising business opportunities and limits risks.
On the basis of selected case studies, the practical challenges of environmental screening and environmental impact assessment was examined. The presentations were made by key players in the respective cases, including the project proponent/exporter, the lending bank, the ECA and the local community. Environmental screening procedures were looked at in practice and the processes used to successfully mediate solutions acceptable to all project stakeholders were demonstrated. The emphasis was on cooperation amongst ECAs and between ECAs and private and multilateral banks, dialogue with the project proponent/exporter, and informed dialogue with local communities, NGOs and other stakeholders.
This session was designed to ensure active participation of all workshop participants.
- Case Study: Copper Mining in Indonesia, presentation and group
Japan Bank for International Cooperation
- Case Study:
Part 1: Presentation and Group Discussion - Coface
Part 2: ALSTOM Power Thermoelectrica del Golfo
- An automated screening tool. CESCE
- Interactive Element, Group Work. Coordinated by Diana Smallridge, IFC.
Session 3: Sustainability and Finance Instruments
On an occasional basis, the finance sector is already supporting sustainable projects using traditional finance instruments. However, in many cases this is not considered mainstream finance. This session looked at some of the barriers that exist towards support of sustainable projects, such as those involving renewable energy technologies, and present innovative and proactive approaches to further promote cleaner technologies.
This session was designed as a brainstorming discussion on possible new support mechanisms that could be used to both overcome the identified barriers and create new market opportunities at the same time.
- The Challenges and Opportunities of Financing Clean Energy Technologies.
Mr. Mark Radka, UNEP Energy
- Industry Perspective
Mr. Graham Baxter, BP Solar
- Kyoto Protocol Mechanisms and resulting business opportunities for the Finance and Insurance Sector
Dr. Joachim Schleich, Ph.D. Fraunhofer Institute Systems and Innovative Research
- A Sustainable Energy Fund
Mr. Emmanuel de Morati, Dexia Credit Local.