Ireland to establish international centre for sustainable finance in partnership with UN-convened network
• Establishment of the Centre is among 18 actions contained in Ireland’s new Sustainable Finance Roadmap
• Financial workforce skills and training in sustainable finance to be prioritised
A new international Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence is to be established in Ireland next year, as one of 18 actions identified in a new Sustainable Finance Roadmap, launched today during Climate Finance Week Ireland by Minister for Finance Mr. Paschal Donohoe.
In its development, the Centre of Excellence will partner with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted Financial Centres for Sustainability network (FC4S) network. It will focus on the practical acceleration of the sustainable finance agenda at a policy, regulatory and market level.
With sustainable finance activity surging globally, the centre will lead on research and development activities aimed at supporting the design, development and launch of innovative financial mechanisms to facilitate the transition to a sustainable economy.
The centre is a key output of a Sustainable Finance Roadmap, which has been developed by Sustainable Finance Ireland and UN-convened FC4S, in collaboration with public and private stakeholders across Ireland including the Department of Finance, Skillnet Ireland and internationally. Developing sustainable finance talent will be prioritised as a key pillar of the roadmap.
Commenting today, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the roadmap was a priority Action Measure under the Ireland for Finance Action Plan 2021, demonstrating sustainable finance’s increasing prominence as a priority for Ireland and an essential tool in addressing the climate crisis.
He added: “This roadmap sets out targeted measures with a view to Ireland being a leading sustainable finance centre by 2025. The challenges facing us from climate change are stark. Governments and international financial institutions are scaling up investment planning to finance the activities and technologies we need to achieve our net zero targets.
“The creation of an International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence is central to this plan, and it fits into our broader climate action goals. All stakeholders, public and private, must play a part to deliver on our common ambitious but achievable targets.”
Sean Fleming, Minister of State Department of Finance with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance, said:
“We know that the public sector cannot do this alone. Private finance must play its part in meeting our investment needs and the financial services sector can be a key enabler. We must ensure Ireland provides a best-in-class environment in which sustainable finance can grow and thrive, and further enhances its facilitation of the essential investments required to make our low-carbon transition.”
Commenting on the launch of the Roadmap, Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland said:
“Skillnet Ireland is committed to supporting the development of sustainable finance talent and welcomes the launch of Ireland’s first Sustainable Finance Roadmap. Together with our industry partners, we are working to advance the knowledge and capability of our workforce, so that Ireland's position as an internationally leading sustainable finance centre can be realised. This Roadmap provides a robust talent framework to deliver on Ireland’s ambition to be a sustainable finance leader by 2025 and enable Ireland’s low-carbon transition.”
Other commitments in the 18-point Sustainable Finance Roadmap include:
• Developing the skills and knowledge of the future workforce in meeting the needs for sustainable finance skillsets and building a ‘community of practice’ in the sector. The Sustainable Finance Skillnet will accelerate the design, development, launch and delivery of targeted financial services sector training.• Building capacity and ensuring best practice in reporting and disclosure. With a ‘green tsunami’ of regulations becoming law, it is key that capabilities to meet these requirements are rapidly developed. Existing programmes will be expanded to support a broader focus area, for example the proposed EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
• Establishing an innovation programme supporting industry, develop new sustainable finance instruments, products and services, such as green, social, sustainability and sustainability linked bonds.
• Creating a dedicated Irish Sustainable Finance Fintech strategy. As the growth of Ireland’s Fintech industry continues it will be crucial to explore the connectivity with the growth in sustainable finance. An initial gap analysis will be conducted to set the foundation for the development of an Irish sustainable fintech strategy and the potential for international collaboration.
• Exploring next steps in Ireland’s sovereign funding of climate action projects. The Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), Ireland’s sovereign development fund, has announced an investment programme of €1bn over the next 5 years to fund climate action projects.
Director of the UNDP Finance Sector Hub, Marcos Athias Neto commented: “Ireland has an incredibly strong track record in international development efforts. Assisted by the UNDP-hosted FC4S, with the key transformational action of Ireland’s first sustainable finance roadmap the establishment of an International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence, Ireland has a significant opportunity to support emerging economies with the development of their own national policies, frameworks and talent required to mobilise capital in support of the SDGs.”
Climate Finance Week Ireland 2021 is organised by Sustainable Finance Ireland (SFI) with the Department of Finance. Sustainable finance is a priority for the Government through its latest Ireland for Finance Action plan (2021).
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About the Ireland for Finance strategy
Ireland for Finance is a strategic framework to support the further development of the international financial services sector in Ireland to 2025. A government document, the vision of the strategy is for Ireland to be a top-tier location of choice for specialist international financial services and to enhance and protect future Irish competitiveness. The framework consists of four Pillars and three Horizontal Priorities. Pillars focus on the operating environment; technology and innovation; talent; and communications and promotion. The three Horizontal Priorities that apply across the four Pillars are: Regionalisation, Diversity, and Sustainable Finance.
About Skillnet Ireland
Skillnet Ireland is a business support agency of the Government of Ireland, responsible for advancing the competitiveness, productivity, and innovation of Irish businesses through enterprise-led workforce development. Skillnet Ireland partners with over 50 industry bodies and enterprise clusters, supporting over 21,000 businesses annually, through its 73 Skillnet Business Networks across most sectors and all regions in Ireland. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
About Sustainable Finance Ireland
A public-private initiative, Sustainable Finance Ireland works to position and promote Ireland as a leader in sustainable finance. It achieves this by providing thought leadership, raising awareness on excellence and best practice, building capacity in the sector, and catalysing innovation with supportive frameworks and tools. All activities are aligned with government’s Ireland for Finance strategy and annual action plans, including the annual Climate Finance Week Ireland series and the Sustainable Finance Skillnet.
About the UNDP hosted Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) Network
Established in mid-2018, the Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) Network is a collective of 39 financial centres working together to achieve the objectives set by the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. It is estimated the network represents 80% of the global equity market and US$76.4 trillion equity market capitalisation. The global scale of the collective’s vision is best represented by the regional variety of members, who all believe in driving convergence, exchanging experiences, and acting on shared priorities to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance. FC4S is hosted by the UNDP.
About Climate Finance Week Ireland
An output of the Ireland for Finance annual Action Plan, Climate Finance Week Ireland is now in its fourth year. In 2020, CWFI attracted over 5,000 virtual attendees and gained 5.5 million social media impressions. CFWI 2021 is organised by Sustainable Finance Ireland, co-hosted with the Department of Finance and sponsored by AIB.