The 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change require a new generation of innovations from the financial system. In response, Italy’s National Dialogue for Sustainable Finance was launched in February 2016 to take stock of existing practice, identify key challenges and suggest policy options to take promising developments to scale. It was initiated by the Ministry of Environment together with other Ministries and Public Authorities, and included a series of working groups comprised of leaders in the financial sector and the research community. The dialogue was convened in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, who brought international experience to bear.
Italy faces a strategic opportunity to align its financial system with sustainable development. Reforms to green the finance sector can help to identify new growth areas, new ways of ensuring the soundness of financial institutions and new ways to serve clients at home and abroad. This can contribute to wider financial stability and long-term economic recovery. For Italy, the prominent place of small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy creates a particular imperative for greening the financial system. Looking across Italy’s financial system, the dialogue has identified 18 separate options that fall into four broad action areas.