Monday 9 November 2020 4:48 am

Building back a greener City — and a greener world

It is essential, even as we readjust to lockdown over the next few weeks, to not lose sight of another of humanity’s great challenges: tackling climate change. 

As one of the world’s foremost financial centres, London has a huge role to play in supporting the development of a more sustainable global society, and is well-placed to make the most of the economic opportunities this will bring. 

Words are important, but actions more so, and we must lead by example both nationally and internationally. 

The Green Horizon Summit — co-hosted by the City Corporation at the start of this week alongside the World Economic Forum and Green Finance Institute — is a clear sign of our ambition to leverage London’s huge and growing expertise in sustainable finance. With a stellar lineup of key global business and political figures, including the Prince of Wales, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Bill Gates, ECB chief Christine Lagarde and many more, the Summit will specifically look to produce a set of key objectives to work towards together ahead of COP26 in exactly a year’s time.

In particular, I welcome Mark Carney’s announcement today at the Summit of a new private finance strategy, which spells out a clear pathway for mobilising private finance to support a whole-economy transition to net zero. 

The City will be a key ally in achieving its key objectives, such as the improvement of climate-related disclosure reporting, improving the measurement and management of climate-related financial risks, helping investors to identify opportunities, and strengthening the mobilisation process itself.

As well as working with our partners around the world, I’m delighted that the City itself is simultaneously doing everything it can to lead the way forwards. 

Our recent London Recharged report has sustainability at the heart of its vision for the future of the City, specifying the need to invest in sustainable infrastructure, support businesses with their own green transformations, and nurture innovation in green finance best practice. 

Meanwhile, our ambitious Climate Action Strategy aims to achieve net zero across the City Corporation’s own operations by 2027 and the Square Mile at large by 2040 — a full 10 years earlier even than central government — creating 800 jobs in the process.

To ensure that these plans reach their full potential, it is of course vital that we work with stakeholders across the capital. Just last week I addressed local leaders across London at the London Green Conference on the City’s plans and how we can use our own capabilities to help boroughs and councils elsewhere to achieve their own aims.

This is a pivotal moment in the fight to stop climate change. A net-zero future can also be a prosperous one if we take action now and embed sustainability in our post-pandemic economic recovery plans.

I’m delighted that the City is already demonstrating its value in this respect, and I’m determined that we will continue to lead from the front in the years to come. Together we can build back stronger and greener.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.