The City of London Corporation has hosted the inaugural Sir Roger Gifford Lecture alongside the United Nations, and the Green Finance Institute.
Addressed by COP26 President, Alok Sharma MP, and hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London at Mansion House, the Sir Roger Gifford Lecture promotes continuing innovation and progress in the field of sustainable finance. It was established to honour the legacy of Sir Roger Gifford, a former Lord Mayor of the City of London who died in May 2021.
Sir Roger had a distinguished City career with SEB and was at the forefront of encouraging investors to follow a more ecologically aware investment policy. He inspired large City institutions and fund managers to concentrate their investments in companies that upheld sound ecological principles. Sir Roger was also instrumental in establishing the Green Finance Institute and driving its success at the nexus of the public and private sectors.
The event featured a speech from and fireside chat with Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance and co-Chair of Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ). The lecture will also provide a unique opportunity to hear from global leaders in sustainable finance about how commitments made at COP26 can now be delivered and how the private and public sectors can collaborate to accelerate flows of net zero-aligned private capital ahead of COP27 in Egypt.
In his speech, COP26 President, Alok Sharma MP said: “Sir Roger was my boss at SEB. You could not have asked for a more supportive, warm and encouraging leader and he was at the forefront of the green finance revolution in the UK.
“We know that the cost of inaction on the climate is catastrophic. We must all recognise, as Sir Roger did, that the economic opportunities of action are remarkable too. Green investment is now good business sense, so together we can chart a sustainable net-zero future for the world.”
Lord Mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny, said: “Climate change and sustainability are increasingly driving the international policy agenda. Over the next decade, private finance is going to play a critical role in funding the necessary transformation of the world economy to reach net zero.
“Last year COP26 demonstrated that governments and the financial sector is serious about tackling climate change, with roughly 40% of global private finance committed to net zero through GFANZ.
“While this shift represents a significant opportunity, events of 2022, including war in Ukraine, rising energy prices, and cost of living crisis all threaten to derail momentum.
“As we approach COP27, it is essential that the private and public sectors collaborate to keep driving this agenda forward. I cannot think of a better way of honouring Sir Roger Gifford’s contribution to sustainable finance.”
UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance and Co-Chair of GFANZ, Mark Carney, said: “Sir Roger Gifford was a luminary in climate finance who combined thought leadership with determined action. It is because of his inspiration and dedication that, in his words, ‘the actions taking place in finance today are almost unrecognizable from a few short years ago’ – the progress has been that significant. But Sir Roger would be the first to counsel that we are far from finished. We can best honour his legacy by continuing to build a financial sector that catalyses the net zero transition our economy needs and future generations deserve.”