6 Sep 2018

Climate action and sustainable investments: Global Goal #13

Money can be used to accelerate change and sufficient investments can help achieve the Global Goals and fund the long-term needs of our society. We were curious so we wrote a blog post, using Global Goal #13 about Climate action as an example. The text is written by ASAP’s project team, based on information and experience shared directly from Nordea.

Banks like Nordea manage money and ensures access and security of financial transactions for all sectors of our society: construction, transport, tech, insurance, healthcare, retail and more. The finance industry can be described as an invisible infrastructure that enables individuals and organizations to transfer, save and borrow money and thereby change, grow and develop. Nordea therefore play a part in the implementation of not only one, but all Global Goals.

Just as a the bank sector stands out as a core institution in today’s society, so does the Global Goal #13: Climate action. Climate change presents the single biggest threat to human and planetary survival and without action, the increased temperature is likely to have devastating effects. Climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders. It is an issue that requires international collaboration and partnerships for all countries to move toward a low-carbon economy.

Sasja Beslik, Head of Group Sustainable Finance at Nordea

“As the largest bank in the Nordics, we have both responsibility and a big opportunity to make a difference – as we have the ability to facilitate capital allocation that can help the transition to a low-carbon economy."

One of the 5 sub-targets for SDG 13 is to integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning. Which is easy to say but complex to implement in practice. For a bank like Nordea this means creating incentives for low-carbon investments, thoughtful investments and advice which enables the allocation of money into solutions for the long-term needs of our society. And choices matter. For example, moving your private savings to fossil-free funds is 27 times more efficient if you want to fight climate change compared to if you reduce meat consumption, take shorter showers, fly less and take the train instead of the car – combined (the calculation is based on a comparison between traditional funds and sustainable funds).

Nordea’s Climate and Environment fund makes it possible for clients to invest in companies whose business models contribute to a low carbon future. With green bonds and green loans, Nordea are labelling green projects in order to boost their popularity and are at the same time providing incentives in form of cheaper financing for their clients.

By being a part of international initiatives Nordea can also contribute with its competence to push for integration of sustainability in the financial industry and thereby exponentially increasing the impact. Nordea participates in many international initiatives, like the EU expert group on sustainable finance and the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network. In 2017, Nordea also established something called Sustainability Ambassadors Forum, the first forum of its kind among European banks. It is a forum for employees from nine different countries working with sustainability, and the purpose is to integrate sustainability across the organisation and to engage people in Climate Action.

SDGs are integrated and indivisible. This means that no goal exist in isolation, and that working towards one goal will impact others. By enabling the allocation of large flows of capital into low-carbon investments, Nordea’s action for SDG 13 will inevitably affect many other goals and it is important to be careful of potentially conflicting objectives. With a holistic approach SDG 3: Good health and well-being and also SDG 8: Economic growth and decent work could be positively impacted at the same time as we move toward a low-carbon economy.

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