Paul Chisnall, Director, Finance & Operations Policy, UK Finance
With the Bank of England this week hosting a two day conference with the FSB-sponsored Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), it seems like an appropriate time to recap on the emphasis beginning to be placed in Europe and elsewhere on climate-related initiatives forming part of governmental and regulatory policies.
First, the EU High Level-Group on Sustainable Finance published its interim report in July and is expected confirm shortly that the report’s recommendations received broad acceptance amongst governmental and business respondents. The report focuses on the contribution that the financial community can make towards ensuring that we achieve a smooth transition towards a low carbon economy within the parameters of the Paris COP 21 Agreement.
Then, closer to home, the UK Government has made significant announcements signalling its plans to place climate change more central to governmental policy. On 18th September, HM Treasury and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced new measures in support of the UK’s global leadership in green finance as part of the move to move to a low carbon economy, including:
- The establishment of a taskforce of senior financial experts to accelerate growth of green finance and the UK’s low carbon economy chaired by Sir Roger Gifford.
- New measures to accelerate investment in clean growth set out by Climate Change Minister Claire Perry.
The September announcements specifically referenced the UK Government’s official endorsement of the TCFD’s recommendations – a natural step following the Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth agreed as part of the G20 Hamburg Summit in June this year. The announcements were built upon by the Clean Growth Strategy announced on 12th October. So as summer turns to autumn, HMG is getting into its stride, setting out plans to include green considerations in UK government policy.
There remains a question, however, as to whether these steps can be said to place climate considerations at the heart of industrial strategy. UK Finance certainly made this point in its response to the High-Level Expert Group. In a UK context, much the same point was made by the Industrial Strategy Commission in its final report published yesterday. The Commission called upon the Government to ‘seize the opportunity’ arising from the merger of the Departments of Energy and Climate Change and Business, Innovation and Skills “to fully integrate energy policy into a new industrial strategy under the auspices of the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy”.
UK Finance has received a request from Ben Caldecott, Director, Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, to encourage participation in a survey seeking to examine systematically the landscape of sustainable finance and investment in the City of London and the broader UK financial services sector. The survey will enable policymakers to determine the state of sustainable finance and investment in the UK and to track its development over time. It’s open to all – representatives from corporates to banks, think tanks, credit rating agencies and service providers. It should take approximately 15-20 minutes and the deadline is Monday 11th December.
Your participation is critically important to ensure that data and analysis is generated that can help inform stakeholders seeking to support sustainable finance in the UK, not least the City of London’s Green Finance Initiative and HMG. Participants will receive a write-up of the results and will also be entered into a draw for a free place on the 2018 Oxford Sustainable Finance Course.