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April 01, 2009

Leading Sustainable Finance Organizations Call on G-20 to Adopt ESG Considerations
    by Robert Kropp

Six organizations provide recommendations for a sustainable economic recovery and implementation of environmental, social, and governance factors in financial regulations. -- Six umbrella organizations for the global sustainable and responsible finance industry have called on world leaders attending the Group of Twenty (G-20) summit in London to seize the current economic crisis as an opportunity for transitioning to a low-carbon, resource efficient, and socially sustainable global economy.

The G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, established in 1999, brings together representatives of industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy. The priority of the current meeting is to gain further agreements for a concerted, coordinated international response to the global economic crisis.

Arguing in their statement that insufficient recognition persists of the fundamental role played by environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in the creation of a sustainable recovery, the organizations set out recommendations that they contend would help create a sustainable economic recovery and a more responsible, transparent, and accountable economy of the future.

In order to encourage a short-term economic stimulus, the organizations recommend support for infrastructure for carbon reduction and energy efficiency, clean technologies and renewable energy, carbon reduction programs, financial infrastructure for underserved markets, and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals are eight macro-level targets agreed upon by more than 190 UN member countries to improve people's lives in a sustainable manner.

To ensure long-term financial regulation, the organizations recommend mandatory disclosure by corporations of ESG factors, greater accountability on the part of corporations to long-term responsible shareowners, measures to encourage consideration of ESG issues in the selection and recommendation of investments, and mandatory inclusion of ESG issues in financial advice and sales of financial products.

The six signatories of the statement are:

Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA)
European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif)
Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA)
Social Investment Forum
Social Investment Organization (SIO)
UK Sustainable Investment and Finance (UKSIF)

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