COVID-19: Sustainable Finance and the Future of the Global Economy

In the wake of the economic volatility created by the pandemic, it is clear that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are material factors that business must manage appropriately. From immediate relief efforts to long-term recovery strategies, sustainable finance must be part of the solution.

The session offers a high-level discussion about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to finance the recovery through a responsible business lens.

-Francesco Starace, CEO, Enel
-Fiona Reynolds, CEO, Principles for Responsible Investment
-Miguel Nogales, CIO, Generation Investment Management
Moderator: Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director, UN Global Compact

What did we learn?

  • This is an opportunity to refocus on sustainability and responsible investment. There is early evidence suggesting that sustainable investment strategies continue to outperform the broader market in this crisis. Investors should incorporate COVID-19 in their stewardship activities, support their portfolio companies in navigating the effects of this crisis and continue to focus on creating long-term value for their beneficiaries.
  • The pandemic has underscored the complexity and interconnectedness of our world – in terms of trade, commerce, as well as relationships between people and societies – and how quickly these links can collapse if not sustainable. Sustainability risks must be understood as an economic risk.
  • The crisis has shown that global problems require a 'whole economy' effort to solve. Climate change, inequality, biodiversity, and the many other issues identified in the SDGs are global problems. Policymakers have acted swiftly to provide fiscal and monetary support during this pandemic. Governments are working together with companies, investors, and other stakeholders to tackle the impacts of the virus on health and society. This is an important lesson to learn for tackling other global challenges, including the impending threat of climate change.

Recommended Resources

For more information on the UN Global Compact's response to COVID-19, please visit:

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