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 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.
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.”
Download and read the full Sustainable Finance Roadmap here skillnetireland.ie/publication/irelands-sustainable-finance-roadmap/