Building Bridges, the GIIN Impact Forum, the GSG Global Impact Summit and PRI’s Annual Conference brought together government representatives, industry leaders, financial institutions, policy makers and civil society organizations from around the globe in October to mobilize capital for the Sustainable Development Goals and build a more resilient economic system.

Our planet is facing unprecedented challenges related to climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity, migration, geopolitical fragmentation and economic downturns. As sustainable investing continues to gain momentum, four major forums hosted by Building Bridges, the Global Impact Investing Network, the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment and the Principles for Responsible Investment took place from 2-5 October to call for urgent global action.

What will it take to mobilize the trillions of dollars required to mitigate climate risks and reduce social inequalities? This central question has been intensely debated in Geneva, Copenhagen, Malaga and Tokyo during a series of discussions earlier this month. Accelerating the decarbonization of the global economy, restoring our natural ecosystems, and driving social progress will require systemic change and collaboration. Over 6400 participants from diverse sectors exchanged perspectives and confronted opinions on strategies to realign capital flows with sustainable and inclusive projects, and showcased new investment practices. These international dialogues stressed the importance of global solidarity and the development of new partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure that no one is left behind. While the recently launched standards of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) recommendations will be a game changer for the improvement of investment decision-making for businesses and financial institutions, collaboration between sectors, geographic regions and generations will be essential to realign our economic models.

Advancing Sustainable Finance: Highlights from global conferences

The 2023 edition of Building Bridges convened over 2500 participants from 111 countries in Geneva to advance sustainable finance and address the interdependence of human, social, natural, climate, and financial capital. The conference highlighted the importance of building bridges between all stakeholders involved in the transition through 70 action-oriented events. It gathered key figures leading the transition such as Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, TNFD Co-Chair, Sigrid Kaag, Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of WTO, Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of The Club of Rome who stressed the need to join forces between the public and private sectors to unlock capital for climate, nature and social inclusion. Patrick Odier, Chair of Building Bridges, called for the implementation of concrete solutions: “We possess the scientific data and facts; we have the relevant technology, the means and the resources to act. We now need to be bold and brave, and move from the ‘what’ to the ‘how’ and from the ‘when’ to the ‘now’”. The edition also hosted key initiatives that are shaping the global sustainable finance agenda such as TNFD, the second Sharm el-Sheikh dialogue established during COP 27 to identify pathways to make finance flows consistent with low GHG emissions, and Seedstars’ community who has been transforming entrepreneurial programs in emerging markets for ten year.

The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) hosted its highly anticipated Global Impact Summit in Malaga earlier this month. In partnership with SpainNAB, the Summit brought together over 1000 impact leaders, policymakers, and investors from over 60 countries. From reflecting on the latest achievements of the impact movement to sharing insights and lessons learned to discussing the way forward, the Summit focused on mobilizing capital for people and the planet, achieving impact transparency, and building impact economies. Speakers included Emmanuel Faber from the ISSB on the next steps for impact transparency, Hamdiya Ismaila from the new Ci-Gaba Impact Fund of Funds in West Africa, Carmen Correa from Pro Mujer on the gender equity bond in Latin America and Myung Soo Kang from the Korean Standards Association about impact transparency in Asia. Attendees left the Summit with a clear call to action: accelerate capital mobilization to where it is most needed.

Principles for Responsible Investment (the PRI) hosted its 15th annual PRI in Person conference in Tokyo from 3-5 October 2023. The conference, which attracted nearly 1,400 delegates from 52 countries and over 700 organizations, focused on the theme Moving from commitments to action. Highlights included an opening keynote address from the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, in which he expressed the Japanese government’s commitment to sustainability outcomes and announced that seven public pension funds would enter the process of signing up to the PRI. This year’s conference also incorporated an enhanced focus on nature, with discussions on the need for investors to take holistic action on climate, nature and human rights, as well as deep dives into TNFD and the launch of Spring, a new collaborative stewardship initiative on nature.

The GIIN Impact Forum gathered over 1500 global impact investors from October 4-5 in Denmark to build relationships, share insights about new strategies, learn the latest industry developments, and explore ways to drive continued momentum and growth in the market. The conference highlighted that all future investments will need to integrate the environmental and social benefits they generate. The GIIN and the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices also announced a strategic initiative aimed at fostering the growth and development of impact investing education worldwide. This initiative aims to enhance investment professionals’ knowledge and skills to help to scale the impact investing industry with integrity. CIIP has awarded the GIIN grant funding to develop a foundational impact investing educational program for investment professionals, including chief investment officers, fund managers, portfolio managers and analysts.