A call towards a sustainable future

Many of us have seen that cartoon where a huge Covid-19 wave is about to hit the city. Behind it, there is an even bigger wave of Global Recession, and ultimately an enormous Climate Change wave waiting to hit. I’m often thinking about that picture.

Over the past few months, in the midst of our global health crises, communities begin to look at their recoveries and we can clearly see the parallels between COVID-19 and the longer-term climate crises.

We know that the cost and disruption of managing the crisis will only increase the longer we delay, and that collective action is needed to address climate change.

Therefore, Citi announced the new 2025 Sustainable Progress Strategy in July, focusing on three key pillars of activity: financing $250BN in low-carbon solutions, deepening climate risk assessment and disclosure, and reducing the environmental impacts of our operations.

We rolled out this new strategy this summer, because now more than ever, global financial institutions like Citi have the opportunity – and the responsibility – to play a leading role as catalysts for the coming recovery.

Citi has a track record of engagement in sustainability ever since we joined the UN Environment Finance Initiative back in 1997. Now our ambition is to test new methodologies for measuring and disclosing the emissions of our own lending portfolios and contribute to the creation of a global carbon accounting standard. Over the next five years, Citi aims to be the world’s leading bank in driving the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The challenges ahead of us are immense, and we can’t do it alone – we’ll need to join efforts with governments, clients and competitors.

I am proud that institutions and corporations in Finland are taking such a visible role in Sustainable Finance.

For example, Finland was a co-founder of the global Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, and the initiative is guided by the ’Helsinki Principles’; Municipality Finance has recently added a Social Bond Framework to their existing Green Bonds and Nordic Investment Bank is issuing Green, Blue and Covid-Response Bonds.

Out of the twelve largest exporters in Finland, all have newly updated Sustainability targets and most of them have identified the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals pertaining to their operations.

Together we can do more. We are calling on our fellow companies and organizations in the public and private sectors to join us in committing to the ”Decade of Action”. This period of time will challenge us all to take concrete steps to drive meaningful climate solutions and work together to build a more sustainable future.

As a final note, I wanted to quote Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac from the book “The Future We Choose” that presents a clear vision of the world to build for the Future:

“It is 2050. We have been successful in halving emissions every decade since 2020. In most places in the world, the air is moist and fresh, even in cities. It feels a lot like walking through a forest, and very likely it is exactly what you’re doing…”

This column is part of a series where Finance Finland member companies talk about responsibility in the financial sector.