Monday 1 July 2019 1:00 am

Former UN climate chief calls for fossil fuel database

Investors should be given more information about energy companies’ fossil fuel usage so they can steer funding away from activities that contribute to climate change, former UN climate change chief Mary Robinson has said. 

Robinson proposed the creation of “comprehensive, transparent database of all existing fossil fuel assets and reserves” in a collection of essays about the role of financial services in tackling the climate crisis.

In her essay Robinson, who also served as president of Ireland, wrote that investors “hold an extraordinary latent power to further the sustainability agenda”. 

“I am under no illusion about the challenges the energy and finance industry faces in managing a just transition,” she continued. “But I am also under no illusion about the risks posed to every living person on Earth if these challenges are not faced head on”.

The essay collection, published by the Social Market Foundation and Chartered Banker Institute, is titled: ‘How sustainable finance can tackle the climate emergency’.

It includes essays by Sir Roger Gifford, chairman of the City of London’s Green Finance Initiative; Huw Evans, head of the Association of British Insurers; and Ingrid Holmes, head of policy at Hermes Investment Management. 

Simon Thompson, chief executive of the Institute, said: “The opportunity green finance provides for our finance sector and finance professionals should not be underestimated.” It represented a “positive social purpose for financial services”, he added, and would help rebuild trust in the sector.