Paul Chisnall, Director, Finance & Operations Policy
Last week I reported on the heroic step made by the European Commission in placing sustainable finance at the heart of its Action Plan for financing sustainable growth. Similarly, with the publication of the report to Government by the UK Green Finance Taskforce, we have seen the planting of a Union Jack in the ground signalling that the UK is serious about meeting its Paris Agreement commitments and is intent on providing a global lead in driving forward green finance.
The report is organised around ten themes including one such theme, implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
Of particular interest is the proposal under the afore mentioned theme that the UK implements the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board-sponsored Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). The report recommends that companies and investors use the TCFD framework to develop their financial, corporate governance and stewardship disclosures on a ‘comply or explain’ basis and that relevant financial regulators integrate the TCFD recommendations throughout the UK corporate governance and stewardship reporting framework. In this regard, it is pleasing to note that in their 2017 Year-End Strategic Reports, the UK’s largest lenders have each made clear their intention to build the TCFD recommendations into their mainstream governance processes.
This is a significant step forward, the report moves in the same direction as the EU Action Plan. Moreover, as the report rightly observes, London is already a leading hub for green finance, backed by deep and liquid capital markets and a strong reputation for innovation. The City’s institutions therefore have a great opportunity to be the first choice for structuring and arranging green infrastructure finance and issuing green bonds across the globe. While London can expect to face stiff competition, that’s a challenge that many should relish and there should be more than one ‘winner’, not least the two degree or less scenario agreed in Paris 2015.