Chief Financial Officers and Global Leaders Discuss Future of Sustainable Finance at UN Global Compact SDG Investment Forum 2022
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) from leading companies across Europe who make up the CFO Coalition for the SDGs joined Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the UN Global Compact, Sanda Ojiambo, and other leaders from the United Nations, governments, and civil society at the UN Global Compact SDG Investment Forum to share ideas and provide recommendations to help unlock private capital and create a market for mainstream SDG investments.
Speaking during the opening of the event, Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the UN Global Compact, noted the relevance of the discussions in the current global climate:
“Right now there are multiple crises buffeting our world. War, food shortages, energy shocks, and inflation are causing havoc in nations both rich and poor [...] Instead of lurching from crisis to crisis, and from short-term fix to short-term fix, we will all benefit if we plan and lay the foundations for a more resilient world [...] CFOs must take a leading role in setting and aligning sustainability and financial targets—not just for the good of their business, but for the good of our planet.”
Alberto De Paoli, CFO of Enel and Co-Chair of the CFO Coalition for the SDGs, said:
“The leadership members of the Coalition are working together, and inside their companies, to promote further integration of the SDGs in corporate investment and finance. Understanding how corporates are acting to move towards sustainable businesses using the SDGs as a compass is key to defining ambitious pathways for all actors in the financial value chain.”
Marie Morice, Head of Sustainable Finance at the UN Global Compact, said:
“CFOs have a crucial role to play in pushing the private sector towards more responsible and sustainable operations. Scaling and creating a global movement of CFOs through the CFO Coalition for the SDGs, both regionally and sectorally, will have a positive impact on the planet and society as well as on the bottom line.”
Nils Pederson, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact France, said:
“With new SDG-aligned opportunities and the rise of the sustainable investment market, estimated CFOs have a critical role to play in reshaping the future of corporate finance and investment as a catalyst to help achieve the SDGs.”
The UN estimates there is a $3 to $5 trillion annual financing gap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With less than eight years to go, meeting the SDGs will require the sustained mobilization of large-scale public and private resources.
As stewards of trillions of dollars in corporate investments, CFOs are uniquely positioned to reshape the future of corporate finance by aligning corporate investments with the SDGs and linking corporate finance to relevant and credible SDG targets.
The conference featured a series of panel discussions and presentations from investment professionals, governments, and Chief Financial Officers who discussed the central role of CFOs in accelerating an efficient transition; SDG aligned investments from macro-sectors including construction and real estate, telecom, media and technology, industrial goods, consumer products, and energy and utilities; quantitative measures for ambitious change; the role of regulators, including the EU Taxonomy on sustainable activities and the role of UN Agencies, including the UN Capital Development Fund.
Speakers included Alberto De Paoli, CFO, ENEL; Nils Pedersen, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Local Network, France; Jürgen Esser, CFO, Danone; Maria Carrasco, CFO, FCC Construccion; Géraldine Picaud, CFO, Holcim; Jill Klindt, CFO, Workiva; Fawaz Sabri, SDGs Financing Expert, UNDP Country Office, Afghanistan; Carole Ferrand, CFO, Capgemini;Maher Al-Haffar, CFO, Cemex; Miguel Viana, Sustainability and Investor Relations Director, EDP Group; Pedro Christ, CFO, Beontag; Lisa Remke, Deputy Coordinator, Sustainable Stock Exchange; Silvia Pavoni, Founding Editor, Sustainable Views, Financial Times; Emmanuel Buttin, Policy Officer, Sustainable Finance at the European Commission; Rahul Shosh, Managing Director, ESG Outreach and Research, Moody’s; Kjell S. Rakkenes, Executive Vice President, Sustainability, Society and Communications, Nortura; Xavier Michon, Deputy Executive Secretary UNCDF; Dena Assaf, UN Resident Coordinator, UAE and Karin Svensson, Financing for Development Coordinator, SIDA.
The event was hosted by a business journalist and former CNN anchor, Maggie Lake.
The UN Global Compact will be launching an on-demand Academy Session to learn more about the CFO Principles which support companies in the transition to sustainable development.