Monday 5 July 2021 7:00 am

London should be the go-to city for green finance as Britain takes on COP26

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, 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. It brought together senior figures from government and industry to discuss how we can accelerate the growth of climate positive finance. Top of the agenda was the question of how we can mobilise public and private finance for the transition to a net zero economy.

This work has gathered momentum in advance of the November summit, where we are holding a multi-day hybrid event called GHS@COP26. It will aim to tackle the barriers to increasing mobilisation of capital and discuss how can we meet – and beat – the $100 billion climate finance commitment outlined in the Paris Agreement.

We were delighted to see the Chancellor focus on green finance in the roadmap announced at the Financial and Professional Services Address at Mansion House. The UK’s debut sovereign green bond and a world-first green savings bond was particularly welcome news.

Climate change is a major global issue affecting everyone on the planet – the UK is a global leader in this area. But if we are to become the go-to location for green finance, we need to spell out to the world why that is. To this extent, the City Corporation has put together a new report outlining how the UK can help scale up sustainable finance across the world, and drive the transition to a greener future.

The report, “Championing sustainable finance: the UK’s global offer”,  showcases the UK’s role as a leading centre for green finance quality and depth, providing in-depth analysis of our strengths in areas including asset management, professional services and regulation.

While there is much to be celebrated, there is still plenty of work to do to ensure the UK, and our financial and professional services industry, continue on the path to net zero.

As the UK steps up preparations for COP26, we must admit that we ourselves have some way to go, particularly in terms of infrastructure, and encouraging 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 across the country.

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.

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