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Financial service providers further the net zero movement at the World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi

17 October 2023 — The United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (UN SSE), in collaboration with the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), convened a meeting of stock exchanges and financial service providers at the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, shedding light on the efforts of the finance community to  achieve a net-zero economy.

The event, titled "Net Zero Finance: The Role of Financial Service Providers," welcomed finance industry experts to explore innovative strategies to align financial services with the urgent goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At the start of the session, the moderator, Margarita Pirovska (Director of Policy, PRI), highlighted the critical need for the financial sector to transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy, “Achieving net zero requires ambitious action from all parts of the financial sector ecosystem. As such, financial service providers, including stock exchanges, have a vital and connected role to play. We know that climate risk is financial risk, and for investors to fully consider its implications, they need access to the data and tools which allow them to make informed and effective investment decisions for the long term. Service providers increasingly understand the need to cater to these requirements, with evidence of their progress on this topic seen through commitments taken to the PRI and UN SSE-backed Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance (NZFSPA).” 

During the session, speakers underscored that financial service providers play a central role in supporting the transition to net-zero emissions by integrating sustainability into product offerings, promoting green financial products and services amongst their stakeholders and ensuring robust and forward-looking climate-related disclosures.

“What can we do? First is to promote and adopt the ISSB standards. Second is education and capacity building. There is a huge role to play for exchanges to help issuers understand how to implement the ISSB standards.”  - Kris Nathanail, Senior Policy Advisory, IOSCO

As we talk about what we need from non-state actors and government actors, it’s clear: 2030 targets, and plans on how to get there. A way to show you’re serious is to share your plan of how you will get there.” -Jennifer Austin, Director of Strategy and Policy at COP High Level Champions for Climate Action, Race to Zero 

“The Egyptian Exchange is working with African exchanges to make the region and its markets ready for the transition to net zero”. -Ahmed Salman, Sustainability & ESG Specialist, Egyptian Exchange

“JPX is committed to supporting the shift to net zero in Japan as a provider of the key infrastructure that underpins the Japanese capital markets. This involves utilizing market mechanisms to support the flow of information and dialogue between companies and investors, providing products and markets that enable and encourage allocation of funds to sustainable companies and initiatives, and setting an example by achieving carbon neutrality in its own operations.” -Natsuho Torii, Deputy Secretary General, Sustainability Committee, Japan Exchange Group (JPX)

To achieve these targets we need a very high ambition set by governments and that needs to be reflected by economic policies that incentivize investment flows.” - David Harris, Head of Sustainable Finance Strategy, London Stock Exchange Group

“As a signatory of the NZFSPA, and home of the Luxembourg Green Exchange, LuxSE sees the Net Zero Target-Setting Guidance as a crucial first step in our commitment to reaching net zero by 2050. As well as assisting issuers in their net zero journey, we must also take action ourselves in order to lead by example when it comes to creating a just transition.”- Laetitia Hamon, Head of Sustainable Finance, Luxembourg Stock Exchange

“PwC research has shown that the vast majority (87%) of investors surveyed perceive that company reporting on sustainability performance contains greenwashing. By championing high-quality climate disclosure, we empower investors to make informed decisions.” - Will Jackson-Moore, Global Sustainability Leader, PwC

“As the 2050 clock ticks, over 60% of companies still lack Net Zero plans, and just 13% are on track. AI-powered solutions can help overcome the challenges around data, standards, and tools, often cited by investors and companies as limiting factors to sustainability action. Service providers, including data providers and stock exchanges, can help with comprehensive, integrated solutions to trigger action from investors and companies.” -Rebeca Minguela, Founder & CEO, Clarity AI

“Deloitte welcomed the publication of the ISSB’s first sustainability standards as an important milestone toward a global baseline of consistent, high-quality, and comparable sustainability information. Now that the standards have been issued, the next vital step is consistent adoption worldwide, in line with IOSCO’s call on regulators to consider ways to adopt, apply or otherwise be informed by those standards. Consistent reporting enables greater transparency on the actions companies are taking to address climate change. Companies should consider whether they have sufficiently robust corporate governance, reporting processes and internal controls in order to achieve high-quality reporting in line with the ISSB standards.” - Veronica Poole, Global IFRS and Corporate Reporting, Deloitte

“Our shared experience in 2023 underscores the urgency of aggressive decarbonization action. GRESB stakeholders—institutional investors and managers—are leading the way in setting targets, implementing business strategy, and measuring outcomes. This demonstrates the real-world impact of engaged, responsible investment in mobilizing capital and promoting accountability.” - Chris Pyke, Chief Innovation Officer, GRESB

The event culminated in a call to action, encouraging Financial Service Providers, governments, and stakeholders to commit to concrete actions that will accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. Attendees were urged to engage in dialogue, share best practices, and collaborate on innovative financial solutions that support the achievement of the SDGs. By prioritizing net-zero finance, the industry is taking a significant step towards a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable future.

If you would like to find out more about the Net Zero Financial Service Provider Alliance please visit: 

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