To showcase strategic partnerships with GISD, PRI, UNEP-FI, SBTi, CBI, and other key actors in the ecosystem for sustainable finance, the UN Global Compact CFO Coalition for the SDGs organized the SDG Investment Forum in collaboration with the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD), the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and the UN Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). This event brought together high-level representatives from companies, banks, financial institutions, and international organizations, including CFOs, CIOs, and other executives.
Taking place at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, with a focus on climate, CFOs and other key actors in the investment community discussed how the triangulation of targets (including SBTs), investments, and financing toward the SDGs is the key to increasing companies’ credibility in front of stakeholders and shareholders. It also showcased how direct, real economy investments in critical areas of sustainable development could unlock scalable private sector contributions to the SDGs, supporting key priorities on the UN Secretary-General’s agenda.
Opening the event, Elizabeth K. King, the President of Sustainable Finance & the Chief Regulatory Officer of the Intercontinental Exchange as well as Silvia Pavoni, the Founder and Editor of The Financial Times gave their welcoming remarks, followed by opening remarks from Tonilyn Lim, the UN Global Compact’s Chief of Programmes who elaborated on the importance of accelerating private sector investment and commitment towards the SDGs. David Atkin, the CEO of the UN PRI, and Eric Usher, the Head of the UNEP FI also delivered their opening remarks.
David brought up that transformative, accelerated action is needed with only seven years in the collective ambition to achieve the SDGs by 2030. He emphasized PRI’s readiness to support all actors in the investment chain in aligning financial flows, strengthening legal frameworks, and creating an enabling policy environment to deliver on the SDGs.
Eric stated that financial institutions are accelerating momentum by setting targets and working to transform their businesses to help achieve the SDGs and the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. In fact, every part of the financial system, including policymakers, will need to work alongside corporates and SMEs to help transition the real economy to one that ensures positive outcomes for all.
The event's agenda included various sessions with notable speakers and panelists. Panel discussions focused on CFO principles for core business transformation, transforming finance for a resilient future, as well as how to take investor action on the SDGs to the next level. The event also featured key remarks and executive updates.
Maria Outters, the Chief Impact Officer of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) gave a presentation on Framing Companies Financial Action toward SBTS. At the same time, Jerome Lavigne-Delville, the UN Global Compact’s Senior Advisor on Sustainable Finance and Aaron Cantrell, the Executive Director of Future Nexus delivered an update on FY2022 AIPR results and climate-related investments from CFO Coalition for the SDGs members. Another executive update was presented by Fabrizio Palmucci, the Senior Advisor of Climate Bonds Initiative, sharing the role of CFOs in achieving the low carbon climate transition, explaining the reasoning behind the expanded roles and what’s next for CFOs.
Several keynote speakers also presented case studies on investment plans to achieve SBTs. Alberto De Paoli from Enel who is also the Co-Chair of CFO Coalition for the SDGs presented Enel’s pathway towards SBT-certified emission targets. He highlighted the importance of value creation, electrification strategy to accompany decarbonization, fundamental roles of grids and batteries, setting SBTs for investors, and transparent reporting in the energy transition.
Ozkan Cimen, the CFO of Arcelik presented the company’s decarbonization pathways, actions, and investment plans until 2030. He also shared the benefits of integrating targets and financing. Meanwhile, Maher Al-Haffar, the CFO of CEMEX and Advisory Board Member of the CFO Coalition for the SDGs presented how the company aligns investments to the SDGs by investing to transform waste into sustainable products. Laura Palmeiro, the Head of Sustainable Finance of Danone gave a presentation on Danone’s approach to climate and regenerative agriculture, concluding that finance involvement is key as an enabler to drive change and achieve climate targets. Miguel Viana, the Head of International Relations and ESG of EDP also presented how the company navigates the energy transition through its selective investment framework and asset rotation strategy.
The event also highlighted a new report from the Climate Bonds Initiative and the UN Global Compact on The role of the Chief Finance Officer in achieving the low carbon climate transition. The report underlines the key role CFOs play in managing the risks and opportunities offered by taking action or lagging behind in the low carbon transition. It noted that late, unambitious action, which opens a company to physical, regulatory, and financial climate risks could be negatively priced by the investors, damaging the value of the company and bringing long-term reputational impacts. On the flip side, proactive action can bring a sustainable long-term competitive advantage to businesses.
The event concluded with closing remarks from Shari Spiegel, the Director Financing for Sustainable Development Office of UN DESA and followed with a reception that provided a platform for networking and further discussions.
Indonesian participants of the event were Tony Wenas, the CEO of PT Freeport Indonesia; Josephine Satyono, the Executive Director of IGCN; Bani M. Mulia, the CEO of PT Samudera Indonesia Tbk; and Catharina Latjuba, the VP of Corporate Communications and Sustainability of PT Saratoga Investama Sedaya Tbk.