In the context of crucial agenda-setting moments in 2015, including the December meeting of COP21 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the role of the financial sector is increasingly being questioned.

The incorporation of social and environmental aspects into the financial sector is one of the responses. This means that the financial system would not only be financially stable – which has been a focus of many recent financial reforms – but would also serve the needs of societies and economies that develop in an equitable, inclusive and environmentally sustainable way.

The SOMO report ‘Mobilising the financial sector for a sustainable future’ provides a mapping of existing initiatives that aim to incorporate environmental and social sustainability aspects within the financial sector. They either aim at integrating sustainability in the financial sector as a whole, or specifically at changing and influencing behaviour of banks and investors. To do so, the approaches or strategies range from mandatory regulations, to voluntary measures and citizens’ advocacy and campaigns. The report aims to be a source of information for civil society and others with an interest in addressing sustainability in the financial sector in the most effective way.

Read more how supervisors in some countries like Brazil and China are imposing mandatory requirements that bank loans do not risk environmental damage. Or how the many initiatives that provide information to investors about their social and environmental impact remain voluntary.

This report does not analyse the different initiatives but provides critical questions in order to raise a debate about effective solutions. It supports initiatives and discussions such as the seminar in Paris on 5 November co-organised by Finance Watch about “Climate Change: How to shift the model?”. SOMO also supports the “Dashboard” launched by Finance Watch on 5 November 2015 that indicates whether the financial sector becomes more sustainable and supportive of the public interest.