As the global population approaches nine billion people, today’s world is one of increasing needs, decreasing natural resources, and rapid technological change.

In September 2015, the UN General Assembly formally established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be addressed by 2030, which effectively provide a common framework for public and private stakeholders to set their agendas and define their policies and strategies over the next 15 years.

$5-7 trillion a year until 2030 are needed to realise the SDGs worldwide, including investments into infrastructure, clean energy, water and sanitation and agriculture. The greater part of the necessary financing and investment will need to stem from private finance.

While a wide range of sustainable finance products and services are available in the market, these mobilise limited funds compared to what is needed and for a limited number of things – based on a pre-identification of acceptable sectors and activities. Hindered by often unattractive risk and return profiles, to-date the amount of private finance mobilised to achieve the SDGs remains in marked contrast to the scale of the needs.

The Positive Impact initiative

In October 2015 a group of banks and investors released the Positive Impact Manifesto, which calls for a new financing paradigm. As per the Manifesto, bridging the funding gap for sustainable development and the attainment of the SDGs requires a new, impact-based approach, based on a holistic consideration of the three pillars of sustainable development.


The Manifesto outlines a Positive Impact Roadmap towards to the achievement of SDG financing, which focuses on two core needs:

  • A common framework to help the finance community and a broader set of public and private stakeholders identify, assess and promote positive impact activities, entities and projects.
  • A collaborative, solution-building approach to developing and implementing new business models and financing approaches that will help address the SDG funding gap and realize the SDGs themselves.

The Principles for Positive Impact Finance were launched on January 30th, 2017 in Paris. More information available here.

Following the launch of the Principles the members of the initiative have defined a strategy and a common workplan organised around four working groups whose role it will be to develop implementation guidance and engagement tools for financial institutions to apply a positive impact approach.



As at September 12th 2017, the Positive Impact initiative is made up of the following UNEP FI members: ABN AMRO, Australian Ethical, Aviva, BNP Paribas, BMCE Bank of Africa, Caisse des Dépôts Group, Desjardins Group, First Rand, Hermes Investment Management, ING, Itaú Unibanco, Mirova, NAB, NedBank, Pax World, Piraeus Bank, SEB, Société Générale, Standard Bank, Tawreeq Holdings, Triodos Bank, Westpac and YES Bank.

How to become involved

Participation in the Positive Impact initiative is open to all UNEP FI members that are actively seeking to understand and promote the positive impact of their portfolios on the economy, society and the environment via dedicated strategies, frameworks and business activities.

Non UNEP FI members, including all relevant stakeholders such as auditors, extra-financial raters and research providers, raters, corporates, public entities, NGOs, and academic institutions, can also become actively involved in the Initiative, as supporters.

Both member and supporter status imply a public endorsement of the Positive Impact Manifesto and the Principles for Positive Impact Finance.

Steering Group

The strategic direction and activities of the initiative are overseen by a Steering Group, currently made up the founding members of the initiative. These are:

  • Denis Childs, Head of Environmental and Social Advisory and Positive Impact Finance, Société Générale
  • Hervé Guez,  Head of Equities and Fixed Income & Head of SRI Research, Mirova
  • Andrew Parry, Head of Sustainable Investing, Hermes Investment Management
  • Leonie Schreve, Global head of Sustainable Finance, ING
  • Namita Vikas, Group President & Global Head, Climate Strategy & Responsible Banking, YES Bank

The Steering Group is supported by the following members of the UNEP FI Secretariat: Careen Abb, Elodie Feller, Sabina Timco, Elisa Vacherand and Jerome Tagger.


For more information, please us at: [email protected]

September 2017

  • Webinar: Finance mechanisms to achieve the SDGs

    Watch the recording of a webinar held on 6 December which addressed the issues of assessing needs, set processes developing innovative financial mechanisms and adapting existing instruments for funding the SDGs. It gathered several influential representatives from the finance community and the corporate sector to discuss the challenges of the financing the SDGs. The webinar was organised by Climate Action and Sustainable Investment Forum Europe and featured UNEP FI’s Careen Abb from the Positive Impact Initiative.

  • Presentation and Launch of the Positive Impact Initiative, Johannesburg, South Africa, 29 November 2017

    29th November 2017 | Johannesburg, South Africa

    UNEP FI is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation and regional launch of its Positive Impact Initiative in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29th November 2017, which will be hosted by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the oldest and largest stock exchange in Africa.

  • Presentation and launch of the Positive Impact Initiative, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 23 November 2017

    23 November 2017 | Presentation and launch of the Positive Impact Initiative, Amsterdam

    UNEP FI is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation and launch of its Positive Impact Initiative in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 23rd November 2017, which will be hosted by Dutch Central Bank De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), in partnership with the Dutch members of the Positive Impact Initiative: ABN AMRO, ING Bank and Triodos Bank.

  • Societe Generale’s Sustainable and Positive Impact Finance Conference, Paris, 9 November 2017

    Societe Generale organised the Sustainable and Positive Impact Finance Conference in Paris on November 9th 2017, which gathered nearly 200 Corporates & Financial Institutions to discuss the stakes of inaction on climate change and the essential role of the private sector in this shift to sustainable development.

  • Webinar: How can financial services innovate to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

    Tuesday, 26 September 2017 at 14:00 CEST | Webinar

    From gender parity to inequality and climate action, the SDGs present an opportunity to transform the impact that the financial services industry has on society.  In order to achieve the goals by 2030, an additional $2.5tr is needed annually. Join EY and practitioners from BNP Paribas, Aviva, CDC Impact investors and UNEP FI to explore how financial services can play a key role in plugging the gap.

  • Positive Impact Initiative African Launch, Casablanca, Morocco, July 6 2017

    UNEP FI and Casablanca Finance City are pleased to anounce the regional launch of the Positive Impact initiative and the Principles for Positive Impact Finance, held in Casablanca on July 6th 2017.

  • Brazilian Launch of the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    The Brazilian launch of the Principles for Positive Impact Finance will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 6th, 2017.

  • Webinar: The Next Steps for the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    Positive Impact Initiative The Positive Impact Initiative is driven by a group of UNEP FI members seeking to establish a new financing paradigm based on a holistic appraisal of impacts to the three pillars of sustainable development. This is seen as the key to the twin challenges of future-proofing business and achieving the Sustainable Development […]

  • Launch of the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    The Principles for Positive Impact Finance were launched 19 leading banks and investors totaling $6.6 trillion in assets in Paris on January 30th 2017. The programme of the event is available here.

    Read the press release in English and in French.

  • Financing the UN Development System: Pathways to Reposition for Agenda 2030

    Financing the UN Development System: Pathways to Reposition for Agenda 2030 September 8th, 2017 This new report, a collaboration between the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, looks at the major trends, opportunities and challenges around financing the UN and the 2030 Agenda more broadly. UNEP FI, through initiatives such as […]

  • Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    The Principles for Positive Impact Finance provide guidance for financiers and investors to analyse, monitor and disclose the social, environmental and economic impacts of the financial products and services they deliver. They provide a global framework applicable across different business lines, including retail and wholesale lending, corporate and investment lending, and asset management. The Principles require […]

  • Positive Impact Manifesto

    The Positive Impact Manifesto invites banks and other financial sector players to think more holistically about their role in the economy, society and the broader environment, and proposes a ‘Roadmap’ to establishing a new, impact-based and market-driven paradigm: positive impact finance. Positive Impact finance is defined in the Manifesto as “that which verifiably produces a […]