How green finance can help us look forward to a greener future


It’s just over four months to go until the UN Climate Change Conference – better known‌ as COP26 – takes place in Glasgow, and few will deny we are at a pivotal moment for our planet, and for the future of finance.

With this in mind, here in the City we recently held the second of our hybrid Green Horizon Perspectives events, organised by the City of London Corporation, Green Finance Institute and World Economic Forum and bringing together senior figures from government and industry to discuss how we can accelerate the growth of so-called green finance to help tackle climate change.

I know that the City residents and workers reading this share our sense of urgency on climate action. We all have a part to play in the UK’s journey to net zero emissions, and personal finance will be a key part of this.

That’s why in the near future you’ll soon see ‘green’ mortgages, loans and investment products linked to sustainable projects becoming much more common place, offered alongside the traditional financial packages we are used to using. In fact, many people I talk to predict that green finance will soon be so common place, it will just be known as finance.

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In his recent speech at The Mansion House the Chancellor set out a Financial and Professional Services Roadmap backing this vision, announcing the first green National Savings and Investments savings bond alongside the UK’s debut sovereign green bond.

These are hugely exciting developments that once again reaffirm why the UK, and indeed the City of London, are truly one of the world’s leading innovative international financial centres.

But that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels- far from it. If we are to become the go-to location for green finance now and in the future, we need to spell out to the world exactly why that is.

And while there is much to be celebrated, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that there is still plenty of work to do to ensure the UK, and the financial and professional services industry, continue on the path to net zero.

As the UK steps up preparations for COP26, we must redouble our efforts, particularly in terms of infrastructure, and encourage banks and asset managers based in the UK to reallocate capital to more sustainable projects around the world.

It is clear there is huge ambition from government and industry to go further in our environmental commitments, but now is the time to turn words in action and confront climate change head on. 

Here in the City we are tackling it through our radical Climate Action Strategy which will make the Square Mile net zero carbon-emissions by 2040. 

I hope others follow suit with equally ambitious plans, and look forward to working with Government to seize and development sustainable finance opportunities which will benefit businesses and households here in the City and across the country. 

After all, climate change is the biggest global issue affecting everyone on the planet. And to quote Greta Thunberg, you are never too small to make a difference.

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