Prior to the global pandemic, momentum was building for the sustainability transition and this momentum has been further accelerated by the events of 2020. The discussion during the second webinar in the White & Case 2020 Autumn Seminar Series focused on the market opportunity today for sustainable capital and the risk mitigation that businesses and governments should otherwise be undertaking to transition away from non-sustainable practices.
The European Central Bank’s recent decision to buy sustainable assets marks the next step change for the market from 2021 (a proposal first made to the ECB in the White & Case co-authored white paper on sustainable finance in 2018). Crucially, the ECB has defined sustainable assets broadly to include sustainability-linked debt covenanted by reference to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): sustainability is now a market which every industry can join.
Sustainability addresses global challenges including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The UN SDGs are guiding businesses – not only to transition their operating models away from non-sustainable practices but also to raise capital today to finance their sustainability transition.