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Signatories of a call to action urge governments, public sector institutions and private sector finance organisations to ensure climate finance is gender-smart. 

Some of the world’s leading investment funds, foundations and financial institutions have united behind calls for greater gender equality in climate finance commitments across the financial system.

In a letter published ahead of the UN COP27 summit, which started this weekend in Sharm el Sheikh, the 15 signatories warn that “far too little progress” has been made to increase the participation of women in climate action and finance.

The European Investment Bank is among those to sign the letter, which argues the climate crisis cannot be solved without involving women, together with Aviva, Generation Investment Management, the David Rockefeller Fund and Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM).

“Ahead of the COP27 climate talks, we are calling for urgent action to enshrine gender equality into the design, delivery and accessibility of climate finance,” said Suzanne Biegel, co-founder of GenderSmart, which coordinated the letter together with the Women in Finance Climate Action Group and the 2X Collaborative.

“The calibre of organisations joining this call to action demonstrates a growing global recognition that gender is a material consideration whether you are looking at women as investors, entrepreneurs, leaders, innovators, customers or suppliers. And we need women’s leadership at every level of the climate finance and business value chains.”

Thomas Östros, EIB Vice-President said: “At the EIB, we believe that the full participation of women – as leaders, employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers – is essential for climate finance to be effective and to tackle the climate crisis at the speed and scale necessary. Investing with a gender lens is crucial to build greener and stronger societies, and to achieve the objectives of the Paris agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. At COP27, we take the opportunity to call for an acceleration of gender-smart climate investments.”

Women are both disproportionately affected by climate change and under-utilized agents of change. Meanwhile companies with more gender-diverse boards are reported to be more advanced in their disclosure and decision-making on climate action.

The letter, which also includes signatories such as Wallace Global Fund, the 30% Club, Hesta, Private Infrastructure Development Group, and Oliver Wyman, made four calls to action of public and private sector financial decision makers:

  • Improve women’s inclusion within the financial system and ability to access climate finance
  • Integrate gender into public and private climate policy frameworks
  • Develop gender metrics and integrate them into climate finance reporting
  • Improve gender-balanced representation in decision making roles in climate finance and climate-smart businesses.

“The COP27 climate talks and the upcoming COP15 biodiversity talks are crucial moments that should enable direct trillions of dollars of capital towards tackling shared global threats.” said Amanda Blanc, Group CEO of Aviva.

“Governments, multilateral institutions and private sector organisations all need to consider how this private capital can better incorporate gender concerns in order to ensure that these trillions of dollars needed to meet our climate goals will flow in an equitable way. Mobilising climate finance in a way that actively works to address gender inequality will be essential to transform economies and societies to be more equal and resilient in the future.”

Notes to editors

About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Set up at the beginning of 2022, EIB Global is the EIB Group’s new specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. It is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society.

To improve the impact of its activities on women and girls, the EIB has adopted a Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment and a Gender Action Plan with the aim of embedding gender equality and, in particular, women’s economic empowerment in the EIB’s business model covering its lending, blending and advising work within and outside the European Union.

More information on EIB gender equality initiatives

About GenderSmart

GenderSmart is a global field-building initiative dedicated to unlocking the deployment of strategic, impactful gender-smart capital at scale. The GenderSmart community is made up of 2,500 investors and investment influencers, intermediaries, and others, in over 50 countries. It’s working group on Gender & Climate Finance highlights the work already underway to address the climate emergency with a gender lens, and encourages the adoption of these approaches at scale and pace in mainstream finance.

About the Women in Finance Climate Action Group

The Women in Finance Climate Action Group is a collective of women leaders from business, the public sector and civil society – who have come together to consider what more can be done to improve gender equality when designing, delivering and accessing climate finance.