Written by:
Paul Chisnall, Director, Finance & Operations Policy, UK Finance

The European Banking Federation (EBF) recently published a report ‘Towards a Green Finance framework’ that assesses the role of the banking sector in the context of the discussion on green finance. The report assesses the role of the European banking industry – and this includes the UK – in contributing to the transformation towards a green economy and provides an opportunity for the banking industry to set out the issues involved from their perspective in a little more detail than permitted in the 1500 characters permitted in the question on banking in the recently closed online consultation by the EU High-Level Group on Sustainable Finance on their interim report . The report contains 25 specific recommendations and should be seen very much as a complement to the work of the High-Level Expert Group.

In keeping with UK Finance’s response to the online consultation, the report underlines the need for:

  • Political agreement on a progressive industrial strategy as a pre-requisite for an expansion in sustainable finance
  • The development of a common taxonomy, principles and minimum standards for green finance based upon pre-existing and developing international standards and initiatives
  • A common disclosure framework based upon the recommendations of the FSB-sponsored Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD)
  • Policies to enhance the attractiveness of long-term sustainable finance
  • The investment and analyst community to step up to the plate
  • The fostering of understanding on the part of retail investors

These and other themes are explored in the EBF report and the High-Level Expert Group interim report. Coming almost two years to the day since Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, delivered his ‘Tragedy of the Horizon’ speech, it feels as though there is a growing momentum to address the conundrum he set out: i.e. that if we wait until climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability then it may already be too late.

Is the grass getting greener?