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Europe's financial community to discuss follow-up to World Summit

Corporate governance, environmental risk and commercial opportunities linked to sustainability on the agenda of UNEP and Societe Generale sponsored meeting in Paris

Corporate governance, environmental risk and commercial opportunities linked to sustainability on the agenda of UNEP and Societe Generale sponsored meeting in Paris, Friday 10 January 2003

PARIS, 10 January 2003 - At a gathering of Europe's financial community here in Paris today, environmental risk, as well as the impact of recent financial scandals on the sector's approach to corporate governance will be high on the agenda.

The one-day meeting, the first of its kind to be held in France, is being hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiatives (UNEP-FI), Société Générale, Observatoire de la Responsabilité Sociale des Entreprises (ORSE), Caisse des Dépôts et consignations and Dexia. It brings together more than 250 bankers, insurers and asset managers from across Europe to explore the implications for the finance sector of last year's World Summit on Sustainable Development.

"The World Summit on Sustainable Development highlighted the central role that financial markets and companies must play in addressing environmental degradation, social dislocation and poverty," said Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, UNEP Assistant Executive Director. "Coming just a few months after the Johannesburg Summit this meeting is an excellent opportunity for the finance sector to create a blueprint for action on sustainable development."

"A blueprint," Mrs de Larderel continued, "that also ensures environmental and social considerations are firmly embedded in corporate governance thinking."

Mr. Philip Citerne, Chief Executive Officer of the Société Générale said, " The concept of responsibility which dominates the theme of our Seminar is in fact at the very heart of sustainable development. In our profession, this concept has long been the underlying basis of our dealings with partners : clients, shareholders, and colleagues. Certainly one of the greatest merits of sustainable development is to expand the horizons of our responsibility to encompass both society and the natural environment. "

At the Paris meeting, corporate governance will be central to the discussion as executives share information, experiences and ideas about corporate responsibility and capital markets, risk and fund management and emerging commercial opportunities linked to sustainability.

UNEP-FI, a public-private partnership between UNEP and some 300 financial institutions worldwide is launching a special 16 page newsletter report on corporate finance in the finance sector to coincide with the conference. Some of the key speakers have contributed articles to the newsletter (available at www.unepfi.net).

During the conference UNEP-FI will also present a set of environmental management and reporting (EM&R) guidelines for the global financial sector. The document will now by subject to a year-long consultation to ensure the final guidelines are well accepted as a credible international EM&R standard for banking, insurance and asset management companies.

For more information please contact: Kiki Lawal (UNEP-FI) on +41 22 917 8692, fax: 41 22 917 8076, email: kiki.lawal@unep.ch or Robert Bisset, UNEP Press Officer on +33 1 4437 7613, mobile: +33 6 2272 5842, email: robert.bisset@unep.fr


UNEP Information Note: Paris 2003/1

Friday 10 Jan 2003
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