The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) will chair a Taskforce being launched today by the UN Special Climate Envoy and former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney; Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes and HM Treasury Economic Secretary, John Glen.

Building on the long heritage and deep pool of expertise in responsible finance in Scotland, aligned with the global connections built over a decade of work in ethical finance by GEFI, presents a unique opportunity for Scotland to position itself as a leading hub for green and sustainable finance. The Taskforce builds on the momentum and legacy of COP26 as governments and financial institutions work together to raise the private sector capital needed for a successful net zero transition and to fund the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Chair of the Task Force and Global Steering Group Member for GEFI David Pitt Watson said:

“Scotland has a long heritage of leadership in finance from the first public savings banks to the outstanding concentration of expertise in sustainable finance. The momentum and legacy of COP26 presents an opportunity to make Scotland globally competitive as a green and sustainable finance centre.

GEFI has been supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Financial Enterprise to bring together the leading experts and leaders in the Scottish finance sector over the next three years to ensure that Scotland maximises the opportunity to grow this important finance sector in global markets, creates the skills pipeline and jobs to support this and positions Scotland at the forefront of sustainable finance. GEFI has just completed a two-year Path to COP26 campaign with over 60 global financial partners leading to the Glasgow climate summit and has been working with state banks, financial institutions and asset owners in countries as diverse as the US, Nigeria, Malaysia and the UAE.

GEFI has also announced a partnership agreement with University of Edinburgh to collaborate and use the University’s outstanding resources and knowledge to drive forward the development of ethical finance.


Click here to read the press release from the Scottish Government


The public launch of the taskforce is at 15:30 on the 28th February. Speakers at the event include:

  • David Pitt Watson, Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy
  • Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance
  • John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to HM Treasury
  • Dame Susan Rice, Chair of the Banking Culture Board

The Taskforce will report on progress and policy recommendations to the First Minister’s Financial Services Growth and Development Board, thereby remaining aligned with existing Scottish Government and industry structures for government-industry collaboration.

Over 160,000 people are employed in finance related jobs and £9.5 billion of responsible funds are already managed in Scotland.

The Global Ethical Financial Initiative has become the hub at the centre of the ethical finance movement. Curating independent conversations among a broad coalition of financial services stakeholders, as well as delivering practical projects.

David Pitt-Watson, Visiting Fellow, Cambridge Judge Business School

David is a leading thinker, campaigner and practitioner in the field of responsible investment – with over 20 years’ experience he was working in ESG before the term was coined! He was a co-founder, and former CEO, of Hermes Focus Funds and Equity Ownership Service, which became the largest responsible investment group of any institutional fund manager in the world.

David was closely involved in the setting up of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment and he chaired the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative in the run up to the Paris Climate Conference.

David has been involved in policy making in the UK, Europe and around the world, particularly in the field of corporate governance and financial market regulation, and has written extensively on these subjects. A graduate of Oxford and Stanford Universities he is currently a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University, where he teaches a course on “The Purpose of Finance”. His books have been translated into five languages.
David currently sits on GEFI’s Global Steering Group.

Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Scottish Government

Kate is the Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency (which includes Dingwall, the Black Isle and the Great Glen) and Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy in the Scottish Government.

Kate is from Dingwall, although she spent part of her upbringing in Glasgow and India. Until she was elected as MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate was employed as an accountant in the banking industry. Prior to that she studied History at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh.

As a backbencher, Kate served on the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, the Health and Sport Committee and the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. She also served as Parliamentary Liaison Officer for Finance and the Constitution. As well as leading a campaign to ban plastic straws, Kate has participated in several cross party groups at Holyrood including Crofting, Gaelic, Human Trafficking, Palliative Care and Rural Policy.

A fluent Gaelic speaker, Kate made history by becoming the first female MSP to give a plenary speech entirely in Gaelic in the current Scottish Parliament chamber.
Kate was appointed as Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy in June 2018 and appointed into her current role on 20 May 2021.
Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance; Former Governor, Bank of England

Mark was appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance in December 2019. From 2013 to March 2020, he served as the Governor of the Bank of England and Chair of the Monetary Policy Committee, Financial Policy Committee and the Board of the Prudential Regulation Committee.

In addition to his duties as Governor of the Bank of England, he has served as Chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) from 2011-2018, First Vice-Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board, a member of the Group of Thirty and the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.

Mark was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada in 1965. He received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University in 1988. He went on to receive a master’s degree in Economics in 1993 and a doctorate in Economics in 1995, both from Oxford University.

After a thirteen-year career with Goldman Sachs in its London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices, Mark Carney was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada in August 2003. In November 2004, he left the Bank of Canada to become Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Finance. He held this position until his appointment as Governor of the Bank of Canada on 1 February 2008. Mark Carney served as Governor of the Bank of Canada and Chairman of its Board of Directors until 1 June 2013