Can Sustainable Finance Catch-Up With Young People’s Sense of Urgency?
This post was originally posted in Linked-in on November 5, 2019
Last week, there were series of meetings on sustainable development and Sustainable Development Goals in Istanbul as Professor Jeffrey Sachs, head of UN SDSN was visiting town. I was at two of them; BCSD Turkey’s Sustainable Finance Meeting and SDSN Turkey’s meeting at Bogazici University.
It is always a pleasure to listen to Jeffrey Sachs; his messages are clear, his criticisms are direct and he always sides with future generations. The audience leaves with a what-to-do-list.
Here are a few of his messages that were important for me:
Messages on Sustainable Development:
· Mission of sustainable development is to make the world economy change directions
· Sustainable development tries to make world safe to live again and economy to work again
· World will address the climate change. The question is whether it will address it timely
· We have to find ways to make the economic progress inclusive, socially fair and environmentally sustainable
· There are six transformation challenges of sustainable development:
1) Education, inclusion, jobs and growth
2) Health and wellbeing
3) Clean energy and circular economy
4) Sustainable food and land use
5) Smart cities and transport
6) Digital technologies and e-governance
· To overcome these challenges, we need cooperation beyond the current politics on issues such as:
1) Technological pathways
2) Regional cooperation
3) Budget strategy and massive financing for the SDGs
4) Policy framework
5) Directed R&D
6) Metrics and monitoring
· These challenges need particular solutions for every region and country, including Turkey
Messages on Turkish Economy and the West Asia Region:
· Turkey will lose money if it invests money on coal
· Turkey will not be using coal in 30 years to come; so any investment now made, will be stranded asset
· Turkey should concentrate on ‘directed R&D’ to overcome two very important issues:
1) Decarbonizing the Turkish Economy
2) Cleaning Black Sea
Common challenges for the Turkey and West Asia Region:
1) Regional conflicts (specifically meddling of third countries in regional conflicts)
2) Desertification and being very vulnerable to climate change
5) Gender inequality
6) Science and technology
· Number of instruments linked to sustainable development financing is increasing. Multinationals, development banks and private markets are all facilitating these instruments. Beyond green bonds, general-purpose loans linked to sustainable development goals are emerging. The trick for the companies is to show their commitment to specific targets of their own and their follow-up.
· Conditions on fosil-fuel financing is getting stricter; especially coal financing. It will not be surprising to see any new financing on coal on the sectorial sanction list in a few years time.
· All countries need to develop a clear matrix for their own goals. Prioritization will be necessary here.
· Question for Turkey should be ‘what does Turkey want to achieve via sustainable development goals in 10 years time?’
· Young people feel that the economic elites (both politicians and the business) are betraying them with their priorities and policy choices. They see both groups as the laggards
· Turkey (or any country for that matter) should develop its own mission-oriented sustainable development goals and make the public, and especially young people, own them