President Juncker, Mister Bloomberg,
Honourable Members of Parliament, Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to Brussels, and welcome to this high-level conference on Financing Sustainable Growth. Let me first say how grateful I am to each and every one of you for joining us here today. This impressive turnout shows that sustainable finance is no longer a niche - it is going mainstream.
Europe is proud to be leading the global fight against climate change, just two years after the signature of the Paris agreement. But time is running out. At today's rate of progress, we would miss our common target of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.
So we need to go fast, and we need to go together. To reach our commitments for emissions reductions, we are faced with a considerable task: we have a yearly funding gap of around 180 billion euros to fill.
Public money alone will not be enough for this. So the financial sector needs to throw its full weight behind the fight against climate change.
This is a challenge, but also an exceptional opportunity. In the next few years, Europe's banks and financial institutions have a chance to drive global developments in sustainable finance. By moving to an economy based around low-carbon technology and resource-efficiency, we can boost job creation, productivity, and the well-being of our people.
Only two weeks ago, we unveiled our dedicated Action Plan for sustainable and green finance. It is a ten-point strategy to embed sustainability into the DNA of the financial system, and re-orient financial flows towards the long-term needs of our planet and our society.
Today's conference is an important step in mobilising the broad support needed to turn this strategy into practice. The various actors here today –investors, businesses, civil-society, regulators, supervisors, central banks, and others – all have a part to play.
Later today, we will have three high-level panels that will give us an opportunity to share ideas and set out the way forward. I hope that you will leave here inspired by the ideas you have heard, and equipped with arguments to convince others back home. And I invite you all to act as ambassadors for sustainable finance.
Above all, I wish you, Ladies and Gentlemen a stimulating and productive conference!
Let me now present our first keynote speaker.
As a pioneer of innovation in the financial sector, Michael Bloomberg is a source of inspiration that can help us to tackle the challenges ahead. In the 1980s, Michael developed a company around an information and analytics platform which is now a household item in most financial businesses, the Bloomberg terminal. In 2014, he was nominated by the previous United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon as his special envoy for cities and climate change.
And recently he was appointed by the current United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as his special envoy for Climate Action. In this role, I am confident that he will continue to drive progress on the global climate change agenda.
Finally, he is one of the founding fathers of sustainable finance, thanks to his visionary chairmanship of the Financial Stability Board's Task force on climate related financial disclosure.
Please join me in welcoming Michael Bloomberg!