The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has appointed Charles Anderson, who has held leadership roles in the insurance industry, as its new director.
He was previously CEO of Sovereign, New Zealand’s largest life and health insurance firm, and has worked at Aviva Asia Pacific and the UK-based social change NGO Leader’s Quest.
He also served on the board of the New Zealand Council for Sustainable Business Development and as deputy chair of the Financial Services Council in New Zealand.
UNEP FI says Anderson was selected to lead the initiative because of his wealth of experience in sustainable finance. He will replace interim director Yuki Yassui.
The organisation works on a number of global initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change, including a recent report on tackling deforestation, in which it identified finance as one of the main barriers to sustainable development.
The current co-chair of UNEP FI, David Pitt-Watson, said that finance has a key role to play in achieving global consensus on sustainable development policies.
He welcomed Anderson to his new role, saying, “We are delighted to have Charles as our new director at this critical time. Over the coming months world leaders are engaged in intense discussions to reach agreement on how we secure a framework for the sustainable development of the planet.”
He added, “We all recognise that the purpose of the finance industry is to fund that development. As policymakers and as financiers we face a huge challenge, and a huge opportunity. UNEP FI’s unique partnership is precisely the sort of organisation which can address that challenge and respond to the opportunity.”
UNEP FI is credited with being among the organisations that helped create the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which now has more than 1,000 signatories worth an estimated $34 trillion (£21.2 trillion).
Meanwhile, UNEP launched an inquiry last month into how the world’s financial leaders can adopt policies to create sustainable financial industries that address the needs of a sustainable economy. It predicted that an annual $6 trillion (£3.6 trillion) investment is required to deliver a low-carbon economy.