Charles in plea to financial world to 'embrace sustainable investment'

The Prince of Wales has called on the financial world to "embrace sustainable investment" or forever face stumbling from one environmental and social challenge to another.

Charles' words of warning came during a gathering of leading investment managers and asset owners known as the Investment Leaders Group in London.

But the heir to the throne welcomed the development that finance minister and central bank governors from around the world had finally acknowledged sustainable investment as "green finance" was on the G20's agenda.

Speaking at the offices of the Royal Society in central London Charles told the audience: "I think it is clear to all of us that the value and imperative of responsible investment - not just to society but to financial institutions - is not yet apparent to all parts of the industry.

"This needs to change, because as long as the reticence to embrace sustainable investment continues, I fear we will continue to stumble from one bewildering environmental and social challenge to the next.

"These challenges are driven, in many cases, by the costs heaped on the planet by unguided economic activity and by the ultimate threat-multiplier of them all - climate change - and materialise in the form of long-term damage to essential natural resources, accompanied by social desperation and, increasingly, I am sorry to say, violence."

China has placed a special focus on green finance in 2016 during its presidency of the G20.

When G20 finance ministers and central banks governors met in Shanghai in February they committed to exploring ways of "greening" the 90 trillion US dollars worth of investments needed over the next 15 years to achieve global sustainable development and climate objectives.

A Green Finance Study Group, co-chaired by China and the UK, has also been set up to mobilise private capital for green investments.

Charles went on to say: "I hope you will share my commitment to a future in which we judge the performance of our investments not only by their financial returns, but by the way they add value socially and environmentally and in long term stability."