BusinessDay

WED: Businesses, governments pledge new actions to save earth

At the official celebrations in Stockholm to mark this year’s World Environment Day, Sweden announced a ban on issuing new licences for the extraction of coal, oil, and natural gas from July 1 this year to protect people and the planet.

“Making the green jobs of the future by accelerating the climate transition is one of the top priorities for the Swedish government. As part of our efforts to implement our climate ambitions, we must take action against activities that have a negative impact on our health and our environment,” said Annika Strandhäll, the country’s Minister for Climate and the Environment.

The Abuja Environmental Protection Board said it would commit to cutting waste by 30 percent in the Federal Capital Territory as a means of tackling pollution and protecting the environment.

FMDQ Group restated its commitment to provide the requisite funding for climate-resilient investments and will continue to take the lead in championing sustainable finance initiatives.

Tens of millions of people around the world joined global conversations on social media demanding urgent action to conserve and restore the environment. Tens of thousands organised their own activities, including the planting of millions of trees, cleaning trash and taking actions to highlight that there is #OnlyOneEarth.

2022 marks the 49th time World Environment Day has been celebrated. It was established following the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, and is celebrated annually on 5 June, with a different country hosting it each year. This year’s theme – #OnlyOneEarth – mirrors the theme of the first World Environment Day in 1973. It calls for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.

“Fifty years ago, the world’s leaders came together at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and committed to protecting the planet. But we are far from succeeding. We can no longer ignore the alarm bells that ring louder every day,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his World Environment Day message.

“The recent Stockholm+50 environment meeting reiterated that all 17 Sustainable Development Goals rely on a healthy planet,” he added. “We must all take responsibility to avert the catastrophe being wrought by the triple crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.”

The United Nations is urging the private sector to support the efforts of governments and non-profits around the world to protect the environment. Many companies are responding to this call as some are increasingly making ESG a board function.

FMDQ, for example, said notable among its initiatives to support the environment include the launch and successful implementation of the Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme (NGBDP), with Financial Sector Deepening Africa, to accelerate the development of green bonds as a tool for Nigeria to broaden investments in green projects and assets.

Now in its 5th year, the NGBDP has successfully impacted over 928 financial market stakeholders through over 34 capacity-building meetings and supported the issuance of four Corporate Green Bonds and two Sovereign Green Bonds with a total value of N58.51 billion.

Read also: Earth Day 2022: The most crucial milestone yet

FMDQ Group also facilitated the establishment of and serves as the Secretariat to the Financial Centre for Sustainability (FC4S), Lagos, the 23 members of the International Network of Financial Centres (FC4S Network) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, whose sole aim is to accelerate the expansion of green and sustainable finance in Nigeria as well as promote the adoption of the UN 2030 SDGs.

In a bid to close the gap created by the absence of a dedicated platform for the listing of green and sustainable securities, FMDQ Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited, launched the premier Green Exchange in Africa.

The Green Exchange is a virtual information repository platform dedicated to driving the growth of green and sustainable securities and providing reliable green data in the Nigerian financial markets – through promoting transparency, good governance, and compliance – by showcasing securities issuances that align with global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles.

Nigeria, in response to being listed among the top 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change globally, has, through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), as stated in the NDC Interim Report, pledged a 20 percent reduction of emissions below business as usual and a further 45 percent reduction conditional on receiving financial support, capacity building and technology transfer.

FMDQ is also providing support to the Lagos State Government on the issuance of its maiden blue bond with proceeds aimed at tackling some of the issues with Lagos waterways and addressing attendant environmental challenges.

Globally, financial markets are assuming a more significant role in the drive to curb the impact of climate change through advocacy and increased investment in sustainability-linked financial instruments, such as green and blue bonds, as the long-term financial benefits of integrating ESG principles in investments far outweigh any immediate cost.

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