With the aim of contributing with his own strength to the general effort that is in full development with the aim of adoption of climate change targets has started its activity in our country as well Climate Governance Initiative Greece (CGIG), the Greek branch of the international organization founded under his leadership World Economic Forum, based at the University of Oxford, which has also developed the Climate Governance Principles framework. It is a network of 24 national organizations and over 100,000 members worldwide and today, almost three years after its establishment at the international level, CGI branches have been created around the world, of which the CGI Greece is the 22nd.
The organization’s mission, as stated by Marina Niforos, founder and president of CGIG, is to help educate and more generally support boards of directors with tools to effectively address and govern climate change issues and corporate strategy to ensure a just and effective transition that achieves the goals of the Agreement of Paris. CGI Greece started its program with the opening session on the topic “Climate and Corporate Governance: Risk and Development Strategies”with the participation of representatives of the Board of Directors of companies in key sectors of the Greek economy and important bodies.
As Ms. Niforos pointed out, through the annex in Greece it is provided access to a global network of experienced Boards of Directors, that share knowledge and resources, including with hubs and working groups in specific sectors, such as financial services, energy or tourism. In the context of the activity in Greece, the annex contributes to the exchange of know-how through events, webinars and targeted reports on the latest trends and regulatory changes in this field, creating a platform for continuous education and learning to improve their skills and expand their resources. There is also the opportunity to work with leading experts, standard setters and public authorities to promote climate-friendly policies and help companies move forward. CGI Greece enjoys the support of the Hellenic Society, an environmental organization with many years of work in the protection of the environment in Greece, and its Board of Directors consists of: Marina Niforos, Andrea Zompanaki, Venetia Kousia, Natalia Nikolaidis and Stathis Potamitis.
In the upcoming actions of CGI Greece includes the organization of its action around four poles of work that represent a large part of the Greek economy: Financial Services, Green Shipping, Energy, Construction & Infrastructure, and Sustainable Tourism
“The rapidly evolving impacts of climate change affect all companies, large and small, and pose substantial risks to their fortunes, regulatory due to increasing regulatory pressure and financially, with capital increasingly focused on ESG issues. Consumers and business executives are also increasing the demands on companies for transparency of action. CGI Grèce is available to help board executives to develop strategic actions with the appropriate tools and relying on the international best practices of its network around the world”, says Ms. Niforos.
Annex ambition for 2025
“We see the next 3 years as critical to our response to the global challenge posed by climate change. IPCC’s 2021 report signals a ‘red alert’ for humanity and global emissions must be halved by 2030 to ensure average temperature rise does not exceed 1.5 degrees by 2050. The business community must act now to move from commitments to action, but lacks the tools, skills and expertise to do so effectively, to create climate-related opportunities and address risks. Boards are in a unique position to drive this change, as custodians of the long-term resilience and sustainability of the companies they oversee,” says Ms. Niforos to APE-MPE. “Our goal is to build a community of board executives and equip them to lead critical boardroom conversations about the impacts of climate change. Our members help ensure that their companies are future-ready and that their Net ZERO goals are translated into solid planning and measurable actions,” he adds.
EBRD partner of the Climate Governance Initiative
In the context of supporting the Climate Governance Initiative and the cooperation it maintains with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the head of its green financial systems EBRD, Maya Hennerkes, together with the EBRD Head of Greece, Andreea Moraru, attended the official launch of CGI Greece. Speaking to APE-MPE, Ms. Maya Hennerkes referred to the importance of policies to promote sustainable development and why they ultimately concern every business, even small ones, and ultimately the simple consumer.
“There are three factors that make sustainable development policies relevant to any business, whether large or small. THE first are regulatory requirements: regulators are increasingly asking companies and financial institutions to measure and publish environmental and social risks and impacts. So it would be good for companies to prepare and move in this direction.
THE second is access to finance: investors want to know where their funding is going and are increasingly setting sustainability targets. Therefore, a company or financial institution that wants to obtain or improve its access to finance, including foreign direct investment, must be able to demonstrate responsible management of environmental and social risks, as well as sustainability goals.
THE third factor is consumer demands. Especially the younger generations of consumers care about the environmental footprint and social practices of the companies whose products they buy, so ignoring this will put a company at a competitive disadvantage in the years to come,” pointed out the EBRD’s head of ESG actions.
As Maya Hennerkes reports “All EBRD clients must comply with key environmental and social requirements. That is why we support them in the development of policies and practices ESG to meet our requirements. We work very closely with the Greek banks that lend our financing to SMEs, to improve climate and other practices related to sustainable development.
But we don’t just provide funding, we also provide capacity-building support and advisory services, for example through our climate corporate governance mechanism or our SME advisory programme. Through the Advice for Small Business program we offer ESG seminars and further support SMEs through personalized advisory services to improve ESG standards.
Our Bank’s clients share our belief that sound ESG practices improve risk management and the financial benefits of the lending we provide. Therefore we are moving in the same direction and on this path towards a more climate change resistant, but also environmentally and socially responsible economy, we are also taking small and medium enterprises with us”, he adds.
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