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50 shades of green: UN’s Usher reveals financing challenge for companies going green

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The head of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, Eric Usher, has highlighted the challenge of financing companies in their transition towards becoming greener. Usher stated that while money is starting to move away from non-green investments, the challenge lies in determining the level of greenness in between. He referred to this as the “50 shades of green” problem. Companies that are still working towards becoming sustainable are difficult to label as truly green investments, making it harder for them to attract investment. Usher also emphasized the need for clear definitions of what constitutes a green investment in order for capital to flow at scale.

Usher acknowledged that discussions around net-zero emissions were less prominent at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos compared to previous years, but emphasized that work on sustainability had not stopped. He highlighted the importance of sustainability to businesses, stating that it is about their future. He also noted the surge in investment in clean energy in recent years, with investment in clean energy growing by 50% in 2023 to $1.8 trillion.

Overall, the key points of this article are:

  • The challenge of financing companies in their transition towards becoming greener
  • The “50 shades of green” problem of determining the level of greenness in between
  • The need for clear definitions of green investments to attract capital at scale
  • The continued importance of sustainability to businesses
  • The surge in investment in clean energy
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