I am enormously grateful to the Prime Minister and Mr. Guilbeault for hosting this Roundtable today, here in this building. And, also particularly grateful to Marc-André Blanchard, who (apart from being a secret weapon) you all know as Canada’s former UN Ambassador, and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for all his convening operations. I am also hugely grateful to his former National Chief Perry Bellegarde, and all these people who have been indispensable Canadian advisors in my efforts to find ways of helping to accelerate sustainable finance and sustainable markets around the world. Similarly, seeing that Mark Carney is sitting opposite me, has been an incredible leader, I know on sustainable finance, including through GFANZ.
Ladies and Gentleman, I know that everyone in this room is well versed on the climate and biodiversity crisis we currently face, one hugely magnified by the energy crisis that has emerged from the conflict in the Ukraine.
However, some of you may not know that I have been trying to bring people from around the world together on sustainability for well over forty years now and trying to encourage corporate and social responsibility for all that time. And, I must say that I have rather subscribed to an outlook shared by many indigenous peoples that we must be thinking seven generations ahead really to have any chance to be sure that we leave a better world behind us. So, what we do today fundamentally impacts the future of our children and our grandchildren.
To help put ourselves on a more, what I can only describe as ‘war-like-footing’ in order to meet all these immense challenges, because we do face a real emergency now and recognizing that achieving a sustainable future is the economic growth story of our time, I launched my Sustainable Markets Initiative at Davos in 2020 and its mandate, the Terra Carta, in 2021, in order to find ways of accelerating the transition of the global economy.
Now, as you know, far better than I, Governments alone simply do not have the trillions of dollars required to reach our stated climate, biodiversity and SDG targets. And, now, after endless procrastination, time is running out. With trillions of dollars in assets, the private sector and private finance hold the ultimate key to our success. And, I can assure you, they are looking to be part of the solution in both developed and emerging economies.
Similarly, I know Canada is helping to lead the way, including through your 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, which includes $9.1 billion in new investments, and reflects economy-wide measures such as carbon pricing and clean fuels, while also targeting actions sector by sector ranging from buildings to vehicles to industry and agriculture.
However, to accelerate our efforts at a global scale, we need to ensure that the right market signals and mandates are implemented in order to unlock the massive amount of investment needed for the transition and all the mandatory services.
Canada has incredible influence in the international system, be it through the G7/G20, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the OECD or as a shareholder in some of the worlds multilateral development banks. And, I must thank the Prime Minister for his leadership in these forums, particularly on accelerating action on the climate and biodiversity crisis.
So, if I may, I would just like to urge us here today to make best use of Canada’s leadership in the world, particularly with the G7 and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next month, by shining a light on your examples and your solutions.
Critically as we start this discussion, I would ask us all to recognize that ‘tweaking’ existing mechanisms may not be enough. The reality is that the private sector now has volumes of assets that far exceed what our domestic and multilateral mechanisms can absorb. We now need bold, innovative and creative public-private solutions at scale if we are ever, ever to see results. Taking the risk off the table is central to this effort. But what we must realize is that not doing so is the greatest risk of all.
Now, I know Ladies and Gentleman, that you have all had a very long conversation before we arrived and I very much look forward to seeing how we can collectively, and with your combined ‘Canadian’ ingenuity, lead the world out of accumulating disaster and into a far safer and more sustainable future.