If we can commit to being bold in our ambition – but more importantly in our action – the Commonwealth, as one of the world largest ‘common markets’ has a real opportunity to lead the world in the right direction.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a particular pleasure to be able to join you here in person – at last!  If I may, I would like to particularly thank President Kagame for his steadfast commitment to driving sustainability and the green economy in the Commonwealth. 

This meeting has been, in fact, three years on the making.  Following CHOGM 2018 in London, I felt strongly that sustainability, and indeed a sustainable future, lies at the very heart of what the Commonwealth is looking to achieve – for Nature, People and Planet.

To accelerate these efforts, and to move us from billions to trillions, I have been working for the past three years to bring the global private sector on board with this vital mission through my Sustainable Markets Initiative – and its mandate the Terra Carta.   We now have over 300 global C.E.O.s, from across industries and representing over $70 trillion in assets under management, thousands of offices and millions of employees actively wanting to contribute to accelerating the world’s green economy.

But, Ladies and Gentlemen, they cannot do this without your help.  To move forward at pace and scale we need to be clear on the enabling environment and the demand signals so that industry and investors know where to go, be it for renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, sustainable aviation fuel or regenerative agriculture. 

Encouragingly, many of you have already been working with the Sustainable Markets Initiative and we are seeing signs of progress.  For example green hydrogen in Namibia, green energy financing in the Caribbean, e-mobility here in Rwanda, disaster risk insurance for small island and climate vulnerable states, blue bond development in Fiji and sustainable cotton production in India. We have also been working tirelessly with the multilateral development banks and development finance institutions to find better ways to better leverage development finance in order to derisk private capital that is waiting to be deployed.

This is why I am so encouraged by your presence here today at what is somewhat of a mid-point between COP26 and COP27. If we can commit to being bold in our ambition – but more importantly in our action – the Commonwealth, as one of the world largest ‘common markets’ has a real opportunity to lead the world in the right direction.

Now, I very much want to hear from all of you so that we can be clear on what we need from each other in order to be able to move from steps to strides in our common mission.  I would be most grateful if Brian Moynihan, Chairman and C.E.O. of Bank of America and co-Chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, could outline, just what the private sector is offering you all.