Massive opportunities are on the horizon for sustainable finance. Meanwhile, pressure on the incumbent financial sector players from emerging financial technology companies grows rapidly, and the regulatory environment becomes ever more complex and costly. The Global Sustainable Finance Conference (GSFC), is a premier forum for exploring these opportunities and addressing these challenges.

A range of new and conventional financial instruments are in demand for financing multi-billion dollar investments annually in climate action alone. The fast-emerging digital economy, which includes smart manufacturing, is creating new markets for trillions of investment dollars. Further 100 trillion dollars across the globe are needed by 2030, i.e. within the next 12 years, to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Clearly, the financial sector has a crucial role to play in enabling the transition to a modern economy - an economy which is green, digital and inclusive.

There is an immense opportunity for financial institutions which cannot be missed, and a responsibility which cannot be escaped.

At this critical juncture, a comprehensive, coherent, and coordinated approach to financing the transition to a modern 21st century economy, which includes both public and private sources of financing, is urgently needed. Therefore, the leadership of financial institutions, senior public officials and policy-makers, regulators and other stakeholders will come together from the 12th to the 13th of July 2018 in Karlsruhe, Germany to discuss financing solutions for securing a sustainable future.


The GSFC, held annually since 2011, is a distinctive, premier international platform for discussing innovations in financial services and business models for sustainability.

During the upcoming 2018 conference, delegates will examine financing solutions that serve the changing requirements of businesses and help in closing the funding gap for modernizing and decarbonizing the economy. The delegates will explore latest trends in increasing financial inclusion and examine sustainable financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as for large-scale projects. They will also deliberate on an integrated approach to mobilize and manage public and private investments for transforming the world for the better.

1. Transition to a Green, Digital and Sustainable Economy: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Financial Sector

This session will begin with discussions about the transition to an inclusive and green economy, and the unfolding digitally-driven fourth industrial revolution. It will examine how these unstoppable developments are reshaping every economic sector, not only in the industrialized world, but also in countries with developing and emerging economies. The session will then look at the impact of all these developments specifically on financial institutions and markets. The discussions will consider strategies for responding to risks and challenges, and for capitalizing on enormous opportunities emerging in the financial sector worldwide.

2. From Silos to Systems: An Integrated Approach for Financing Sustainable Development

Gearing up for financing an inclusive, resilient and green economy requires breaking down silos and moving to an integrated and multi-stakeholder approach. This session will feature ways that governments, regulators, financial institutions and other stakeholders can work together for an effective and efficient sustainable finance ecosystem. The discussions will look at fiscal policies, good financial governance, incentive mechanisms and regulations for mainstreaming sustainable finance to achieve national development, including the SDGs. The session will also address the key role of public finance in directing private investments and creating public-private investment partnerships for accelerating the world’s transition to a sustainable future.

3. Sustainable Finance for All: Powering Micro to Large Enterprises for a 21st Century Economy

As businesses transform to sustainability in a world of exponential change, and new enterprises emerge to address the needs of 21st century societies, their financing requirements and the way they raise capital are also changing. In this session, delegates will examine new approaches to finance the evolving needs of businesses of all sizes, from micro-enterprises and start-ups to scale-ups and SMEs, and discuss financial solutions for enabling their sustainability transformation. Delegates will also share the latest practices in financing large-scale projects for shifting to resource-efficient, climate-resilient and economically, socially and environmentally viable economies.

4. Closing Plenary Session: The Way Forward and the Next Actionable Steps

This session will summarize the conference highlights, re-visit the leading strategies and practices, and reflect on the success stories and challenges from around the world examined during the two-day conference. The discussion will then shift to envisioning the future of sustainable finance. Finally, this engaging session will focus on translating the conference’s key findings into actionable items, so that delegates can take home a collection of creative ideas and practical solutions for advancing the sustainability agenda of their institutions and countries.


The Paradigm Shift
» From short term profit orientation to long term success

Future Proofing
» Embedding sustainability into the DNA of financial institutions for driving future performance and thriving in a competitive environment

Seizing the Opportunity
» Unlocking the business potential of embracing sustainability


The Survival Imperative
» Shifting from shareholder to stakeholder value

Leadership Strategies
» Steering financial institutions in times of rapid change and the era of disruptive innovation.

Latest Trends and Developments
» Innovations in financial inclusion, SME finance and large-scale project financing

Share and Network

Showcasing Achievements
» Demonstrate your institution’s sustainability initiatives and get valuable feedback from peers and experts from across the globe

Connecting with Change-makers
» Build global strategic partnerships with forward-looking professionals and thought leaders committed to co-create the next generation of banking and finance. financing

This global forum was launched in 2011 by European Organisation for Sustainable Development and the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia & the Pacific in cooperation with the City of Karlsruhe. It was initiated under the auspices of the World Federation of Development Finance Institutions and was endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme - Financial Institutions (UNEP FI). The Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI) is the conference partner.