Scottish Financial Centres Climb in Global Green Finance Rankings

Edinburgh and Glasgow have both risen in the 9th edition of the widely respected Global Green Finance Index (GGFI), from prominent City thinktank Z/Yen.

Edinburgh climbed 4 places to 35th, while COP26 host city Glasgow rose 2 places to 51st; the only UK financial centres outside London to place on the list.

Glasgow ranks ahead of financial centres such as Milan, Istanbul and Tel Aviv, with Edinburgh leading Osaka, Hong Kong, Toronto, Chicago and Rome.

The rankings show that Scotland is well-placed to build upon the legacy of COP26 with its new Scottish Taskforce on Green and Sustainable Financial Services.

Led by the Scottish Government, Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) and Scottish Financial Enterprise, the Taskforce brings together prominent financial institutions, policymakers, professional bodies, academic institutions, and industry representatives to coordinate the Scottish financial sector’s approach to financing a net zero economy.

Elsewhere in the rankings, London, Amsterdam, and New York retained their 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively, while New York jumped 8 places to move into the top 10 for the first time, at 5th place.

Chris Tait, Chief Operating Officer of GEFI said “The rise of both Edinburgh and Glasgow in the latest Global Green Finance Index shows the knowledge and expertise of Scotland’s green finance cluster. By bringing together stakeholders from across the sector, we will leverage our intellectual capital and financial history to deliver finance for net zero.”

Speaking at the Taskforce launch, Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and former Governor of the Bank of England, said “This Taskforce presents a unique opportunity, at the national level, for stakeholders active in one of the world’s oldest financial centres to work together to demonstrate leadership in defining and implementing the steps required to align with a net-zero future.”


Agenda Announced: Ethical Finance ASEAN 2022

The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) and the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers are delighted to announce the launch of the agenda for our inaugural Ethical Finance ASEAN 2022 summit.

Taking place virtually on Wednesday 29 June 2022, the summit begins at 10am MYT (GMT+8), with a full replay taking place later at 10am BST (GMT+1). The summit starts with an overview of sustainable finance in the ASEAN region, before exploring the topic further in sessions centred around three core thematics: climate, nature and social. The summit then explores practical pathways to action with a session on the SDGs and concludes with an interview between prominent corporate and financial sustainability leaders. Click here to view the agenda.

Speakers include:

  • Komi Rajdev, Head of Business Development ASEAN, Moody’s ESG Solutions
  • Suraya Sani, Senior Supervisor, Financial Conglomerates Supervision Department, Bank Negara Malaysia
  • Shahril Azuar Bin Jimin, Chief Sustainability Officer, MayBank
  • Raja Amir Shah Raja Azwa, CEO, HSBC Amanah
  • Yuki Yasui, Regional Director, GFANZ APAC Network
  • Rafe Haneef, CEO, Group Transaction Banking and Group Chief Sustainability Office
  • Rizal Il-Ehzan Bin Fadil Azim, CEO, Alliance Islamic Bank Berhad

Sign up now at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ethical-finance-asean-2022-tickets-299068761717?aff=agenda


EVENT ANNOUNCED | Ethical Finance ASEAN 2022

Following the success of our South East Asia regional showcase at Ethical Finance Global 2021, the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) is delighted to co-host the inaugural Ethical Finance ASEAN 2022 with the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers (AICB).

This virtual event, to be held on Wednesday 29 June 2022, will present a unique opportunity to hear from experts on sustainable and responsible finance in the ASEAN region and beyond. The summit is themed “ESG in a Volatile World – Profit, Purpose or Politics?”

As well as looking at macroeconomic issues impacting global markets, we will have specific sessions on topics including:

  • How the megatrends of 2022 are affecting ASEAN economies
  • Financing nature and biodiversity in ASEAN: sustainable palm oil and deforestion
  • The role of the SDGs as a coordinating framework, and progress on financing the 2030 goals
  • Core priorities on the S in ESG for ASEAN economies
  • Perspectives from local and international finance leaders

For more information, click here.


Responding to the War in Ukraine: Ethical Finance at a Time of Crisis

Finance sector experts discussed the role of finance in responding to the war in Ukraine in a special joint event hosted with the CFA UK's Scottish Committee, focusing on the need to respond to the energy supply shock, the "economic war" being waged against Russia and the options open to investors.

On Wednesday 16th March, Lord John Alderdice, a key figure in the Northern Ireland Peace Process and Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, Jeremy Lawson of abrdnHelen Thomas of Blonde Money and Graham C. Cook, CFA of the Environment Agency Pension Fund joined our event 'Responding to the War in Ukraine: Ethical Finance at a Time of Crisis'.

Lord John Alderdice opened the event by emphasising the need for finance to play a role in securing a just - and peaceful – world: a sentiment all the more acute in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The shadow of the conflict underpinned Jeremy Lawson, Chief Economist at abrdn’s opening intervention, where he explained that the conflict has highlighted that central banks are behind the policy curve: they have few policy levers left with which to respond to the conflict and the resultant energy supply shock.

Helen Thomas of Blonde Money echoed these sentiments, as she proceeded to unpack the finance (and UK’s) policy response to the conflict in Ukraine. She explained that the last few weeks had, in fact, laid bare two wars that are happening in parallel: a land war, and an economic war that goes beyond mere sanctions. Finance has become another front on a complex war, and no investor can truly be neutral as a result. This was a position that was echoed by Lord Alderdice, who cited the difficulties of aligning private financial flows with broader geopolitics and policy as the conflict in Ukraine unfolds.

The question remains, however: what investors can therefore do in response to the conflict? Whilst there might be pressure to divest, as Graham Cook commented, the market isn't necessarily there. In fact, for many investors, their Russia-based holdings had been relatively low due to existing governance concerns - many of those with robust sustainability and governance policies were simply not deeply invested in Russia, in contrast with some of the kneejerk divestments of recent weeks.

Jeremy Lawson suggested that the conflict is ultimately symbolic of a tendency towards fragmentation that has been in place for a decade, but could end up strengthening the NATO alliance: the decrease in globalisation over the past decade has been underlined by the conflict but its impact is not linear. We could, for example, see climate change policy undermined by return to coal, or see the flexibility of EU ETS promote renewables as source of energy security as the war unfolds.

As Helen Thomas ultimately argued, when thinking about the war in Ukraine we need to be mindful of longer term history when we think about the moral and practical steps the finance sector needs to take during this crisis. Both Helen Thomas and Jeremy Lawson were keen to point to political economy as a fundamental driver of investing, with formal modelling a crucial potential aid to decision-making. There was broad agreement that China is key, not just in terms of the effectiveness of the economic war now being waged against Russia, but on climate action and the shape of any reshuffle of the geopolitical order provoked by this war.

John Alderdice was interviewed about the event on BBC Radio Scotland following the event; you can listen here.

We would strongly encourage you to make to make a donation to the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal.


Job Vacancy: Could You Be Our Next Digital Marketing Manager?

The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) has become the hub at the centre of the ethical finance movement. We undertake advocacy through curating independent conversations among a broad coalition of financial services stakeholders, as well as research, advisory work and delivering practical projects. We are the partner for action on ethical finance.

From our Edinburgh base, we are a non-profit with a global footprint. We are supported by the Scottish Government and several major financial institutions including Baillie Gifford and NatWest Group. We also work in partnership with global multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations. Our wider organisation includes the Ethical Finance Hub, Islamic Finance Council UK, SDG Tartan and EFx.global.

With ethical finance moving from the niche to the norm, the level of interest in our work has grown considerably. To meet demand, we are now expanding and have an exciting opportunity for an experienced Digital Marketing Manager to join our growing team to lead on the planning and delivery of our marketing, website and social media strategies for 2022 and beyond.

This is a truly unique opportunity to work in partnership with Governments, regulators, financial institutions, and other financial services stakeholders from across the globe.

Do you have the experience, passion, and drive to make a difference within a high-end purpose-led organisation? If so, read on!

Your Profile and Responsibilities

You will report to our Chief Operating Officer and have responsibility for the management and day-to-day running of our websites (WordPress) and social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn and any others as appropriate). With several websites across our portfolio, you must understand the design and build process and be confident in restructuring existing pages, creating new pages and adding content in a synchronized manner. You will also be expected to develop and manage our social media calendar in collaboration with colleagues and produce engaging, dynamic content (including written copy, infographics and basic video content).

You will also lead on the development and delivery of our marketing and content strategies across our initiatives. You will contribute to our strategic planning to identify and implement digital marketing tactics that support the achievement of our objectives. This will include taking ownership of all analytics and reporting for content marketing efforts and SEO efforts for web and digital content. You will also be confident analysing trends to recommend best practice approaches to ensure continuous improvement.

As well as promoting the GEFI (and associated) brand(s) your digital expertise will play a critical role in maximising external engagement across our 5 principle areas:

  • Strategic Campaigns
  • Research and Advisory
  • Capacity Building
  • Practical Solutions
  • Events.

This year we are piloting a Youth Sustainable Finance Champion programme where you will responsible for managing the first cohort of up to three students. This will involve assisting with on-boarding, providing training and overseeing digital content production (e.g. tweets and blogs).

This is a critical role within the GEFI operation as we seek to raise awareness, educate and inspire practical action to make the financial system work for positive change.

Your Skills and Qualifications

Technical Skills

  • Degree (or qualifications) in marketing, design, business, or related field or equivalent in experience
  • High standard of literacy and numeracy
  • Proficient across the whole Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to convey the right tone of voice across relevant target audiences and digital assets
  • Skilled in creating and maintaining engaging and interactive websites
  • Proficient in using WordPress to publish posts, pages, add media, contact forms, set menus, permalinks, familiar with SEO best practice, plugins and themes
  • Track record of using hootsuite to plan, manage and measure follower-growth and development strategies across Twitter and Linkedln
  • Graphic design skills ranging from the design features in Word and PowerPoint to Photoshop (or equivalent), video-editing and design programmes such as Canva and Adobe InDesign
  • Video production and editing skills (specifically using Adobe Premiere Pro or equivalent)
  • Experience in using MailChimp to design and deploy email campaigns
  • Experience in setting up and managing Zoom meetings and webinars

Soft Skills

  • Creative thinker with strong project management, multitasking, and decision-making skills
  • Able to take ownership of day-to-day tasks and prioritise workload
  • Ability to deliver under pressure and work to targets and tight deadlines
  • Ability to quickly develop new technical skills as required
  • Interpersonal skills with an ability to develop, manage and build relationships with colleagues and external partners
  • Attention to detail with the capability to develop / follow processes and procedures, including design languages, to maximise efficiency and output quality
  • Proven ability to liaise, co-ordinate and disseminate quality information
  • Team player with a ‘can-do’ attitude and willingness to self-evaluate performance to continuously improve
  • Enthusiastic and responsible team player with the ability to work with limited supervision
  • Committed to and have the flexibility to work hours as determined by the business

In return, we will offer:

If you have a genuine passion for social purpose then this is your chance to be part of a small, friendly team, working at the epicentre of the sustainable finance movement. As a global-facing organisation with local roots, this is a perfect opportunity for a digital marketing specialist seeking to take their next step in

  • Full Time and will consider flexible working (such as reduced working day or 4-day week)
  • Attractive salary of FTE £30,000 - £35,000 depending on experience
  • Initially home-based with weekly in-person team meet-ups in Edinburgh (requirements will be reviewed considering changing Covid circumstances)
  • 28 days annual holiday (including bank holidays)
  • NEST pension
  • Opportunity to grow and develop your career

How to Apply

Closing date for the applications is: Wednesday 25th March 2022

All individuals are encouraged to apply to this post regardless of race, age, disability, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marriage, and civil partnership.

To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter outlining your suitability for the role to chris@globalethicalfinance.org.


Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services launches

Global finance leaders, including representatives from the UN and both the UK and Scottish Governments, set out the role Scotland’s financial services can play in the fight against climate change.

On the day UN climate body the IPCC issued its starkest warnings to date, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney; Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes and HM Treasury Economic Secretary, John Glen came together with David Pitt-Watson and Dame Susan Rice to highlight how Scotland can become a world-leading hub for climate finance through the launch of a new Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services, chaired by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative.

Launching on Monday 28th of February, the Taskforce, initiated by Scottish Government with GEFI appointed as Secretariat, presents a unique opportunity for Scotland’s financial services sector to build on the legacy of COP26 by working together to demonstrate global leadership in implementing the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) roadmaps. The taskforce opened with, and was underpinned by, a realisation that participants were facing unique opportunity for Scotland’s financial services sector to build on the legacy of COP26 by working together to demonstrate global leadership in implementing the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) roadmaps.

At the launch event, Taskforce Chair David Pitt-Watson reflected on the progress of responsible investing in the last 20 years, from setting up the UN PRI in a basement to the 4,000 leading financial institutions taking part now. Following him, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy Kate Forbes set out her vision for a sustainable Scottish economy, and explained how the Taskforce can contribute to both this vision and Scotland's Net Zero success more broadly. It will include representatives from across the Scottish financial industry, building a world-leading cluster and deepenening Scotland's existing strength in responsible finance.

UN Envoy for Climate and Finance and former chair of the Bank of England Mark Carney shared a similar sense of optimism. He evoked the spirit of Adam Smith and memories of a Burns’ night supper spent with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeonm at which the pair spoke about how Smith's insights could contribute centuries later, a theme picked up by GEFI's Wealth of Nations in the 21st Century essay series at COP26.

He went on to explain some of the core goals of the Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero, including:

  • Implementing best-practice transition plans and mapping those into mandatory approaches
  • Phasing down stranded assets responsibly
  • Establishing rigorous offset markets, driving investment into the Global South

The process of aligning core financial market benchmarks with the aims of this transition will not be as simple as flicking a green switch, and nor does it mean only investing in already green companies. It requires mobilising new investment into developing countries, and essentiall - yet polluting - industries such as steel or cement. A coordinated approach, which the Taskforce could provide, has the power to help deliver this investment.

Citing the specific example of climate stress testing mechanisms, Mark Carney reminded us that the mechanisms for broad-scale transitions needed to be embedded into corporates. The critical point to remember, he argued, was that the finance sector is in a position coming out of Glasgow where we are broadly orientated to Net Zero and is beginning to develop the tools necessary to achieve this. As UK Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen echoed in his intervention, the challenge still facing regulators and government is how to provide a clear vision to get there.

One solution, argued Dame Susan Rice, lies in the ability of culture to provide both a top down and bottom up approach. The Taskforce presents a unique opportunity for Scottish financial services to work together and create a globally recognised centre for sustainable and green financial services. Culture is conventionally thought of in terms of single organisations - how can one company improve its own culture - but what the Taskforce could achieve is embedding a culture of environmental responsibility across Scotland's financial sector.

Wrapping up the Taskforce launch, David Pitt-Watson quoted Margaret Mead, who said that one should “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. As the Taskforce launch poignantly highlighted, the small group of citizens determined to deliver the legacy of COP26 is becoming bigger, and the need to change the world ever more acute. The Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services represents a critical juncture in making sure that the necessary changes are enacted, and relies on a collective effort to fully shift the societal dial towards Net Zero, and to a sustainable, more prosperous future on earth.

To find out more about the taskforce, and to look at the ways that you can get involved, please visit https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/taskforce/


PRESS RELEASE | UN joins forces with UK & Scottish Governments to Launch Green Finance Taskforce

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

UN JOINS FORCES WITH UK & SCOTTISH GOVERNMENTS TO LAUNCH GREEN FINANCE TASKFORCE.

Global finance leaders, including representatives from the UN and both the UK and Scottish Governments, set out the role Scotland's financial services can play in the fight against climate change.

On the day UN climate body the IPCC issued its starkest warnings to date, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney; Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes and HM Treasury Economic Secretary, John Glen, came together to highlight how Scotland can become a world-leading hub for climate finance through the launch of a new Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services, chaired by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative.

They emphasised how Scotland can build upon the legacy of COP26 in Glasgow through its intellectual capital, history as a centre of financial innovation and existing strengths in green finance to lead on the transition to a net zero economy.

Kate Forbes, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, said:
"We know the transition to a net zero economy will be a monumental undertaking. It is going to be the single greatest social and economic transformation required in history, and it is going to impact every sector fo the economy. No part of our economy, no part of our society will be immune to the impact of that transformation. It will be hard: it is going to require the reallocation of trillions of dollars of capital."

Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, said:
"The more credible and predictable government climate policies are, the more investors will pour money in, in anticipation, driving large-scale investment, faster decarbonisation, more jobs and greater growth."

ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS

See pre-launch press release:
https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/2022/02/28/press-release-scotland-stakes-its-claim-to-be-a-leading-centre-in-finance-for-a-net-zero-and-sustainable-future/

Speakers at the event included:

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.

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


PRESS RELEASE | Scotland Stakes its Claim to be a Leading Centre in Finance for a Net Zero and Sustainable Future

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

SCOTLAND STAKES ITS CLAIM TO BE A LEADING CENTRE IN FINANCE FOR A NET ZERO AND SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

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.

ENDS

Click here to read the press release from the Scottish Government

NOTES TO EDITORS

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


Diversity and Inclusion | Ethical Finance Round Table | Summary

Finance experts shared academic research, personal perspectives and technical expertise on the integration of diversity and inclusion concerns into finance. They emphasised the need for a process that goes beyond mere representation toward a deeper appreciation and integration of diverse voices. Watch now.

For our first Ethical Finance Roundtable of 2022, chaired by Amy Clarke, Chief Impact Officer at Tribe Impact Capital, we were delighted to welcome Prof. Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at London Business School, Gavin Lewis, Managing Director, UK LGPS at BlackRock & equality campaigner and Lynne Highway, Director of Colleague and HR Experience at NatWest Group to discuss Diversity and Inclusion in the finance sector and beyond. Whilst the discussion showed that the sector must strive to improve, there is a clear appetite for progress on diversity and inclusion from across the financial sector and beyond.

Opening the event, Prof. Alex Edmans explored the business case for diversity, showing that many claims are based on flimsy evidence that is accepted uncritically and emphasising the need to be aware of our confirmation biases when making the case for diversity. Ultimately, while the evidence doesn’t support a business case for boosting superficial diversity metrics, it does support a business case for diversity and inclusion – as Professor Edmans highlighted “it involves far more than putting a few token minorities on the board to tick a box. It is much harder to create a culture where everybody feels psychologically safe at work”. As he powerfully stated, after sharing some of his personal experiences with racism and age discrimination in the workplace, “maybe making more money is not the real reason to do this. Maybe we just agree it’s the right thing to do”.

The question about the moral case for action on diversity and inclusion carried over into a fascinating intervention from Gavin Lewis. Lewis, who co-founded the #TalkAboutBlack’ movement to break the taboo surrounding conversations about race, noted that whilst progress has been made to foster inclusivity, finance had not gone far enough. For example, while hiring practices have improved markedly, retention still lags behind for myriad social, cultural, and economic reasons.

One fundamental problem, he argued, lay with the tacit expectation that firms would do the right thing, and that there was a straightforward business case for doing so. If there was, he said, it would have been done by now, and as he aptly commented, “The right thing didn’t happen when George Floyd was murdered. The right thing has been here all along and it hasn’t worked”.

Lynne Highway shared some of the work that NatWest have done to foster an inclusive culture within their ‘organisational DNA’ in order to not just meet, but exceed, statutory requirements on diversity. She said that NatWest is proud to be nurturing a fair and inclusive bank where they champion potential, helping people, families, and businesses to thrive.

Having a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace is essential to achieving our purpose, as it enables the Bank to work together to achieve great things with our colleagues, communities, and customers. Improving representation, Lynne argued, requires creating an inclusive environment where colleagues feel able to bring their whole self to work. One way that NatWest have done this is via reciprocal mentoring, to allow for an open dialogue between colleagues from different backgrounds, and at different levels of an organisation.

The roundtable then moved on to a lively audience Q&A which included discussion on:

  • Whether we might see a TSFD (Taskforce on Social-Related financial disclosures)
  • The need to be aware of – and compensate – the emotional labour that might be expected of colleagues from underrepresented groups in the process of improving workspaces
  • Whether it is more important to focus within (on the internal operations) or outside (on investee companies or clients)
  • How the sector can learn from the relatively successful process of integrating climate-related concerns

Click here to sign up to our next event, the launch of the Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services, on Monday 28th February.


Launching 28th February: Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services

The Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services will help to capitalise on the opportunities of financing the global shift to net zero, setting out the actions we will take to promote and establish Scotland as a world‑leading centre for green and ethical finance, and leverage the potential of private finance.

We are proud to be joined by Mark Carney and Cabinet Secretary Kate Forbes for the launch of the Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services on Monday 28th February from 15:30-16:30 GMT.

The Taskforce, initiated by Scottish Government with GEFI appointed as Secretariat, presents a unique opportunity for Scotland’s financial services sector to build on the legacy of COP26 by working together to demonstrate global leadership in implementing the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) roadmaps.

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Responsible finance is critical for a sustainable world. It has the power to support prosperity, climate action, employment, human rights and equality. That realisation is growing. According to Bloomberg, ESG assets jumped to $30.6 trillion in 2018 from $22.8 trillion in 2016 and may hit $53 trillion by 2025, representing a third of global AUM.

Many of the largest financial institutions in the world are signed up to global initiatives such as the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, which represents a collective $100 trillion in assets under management, and the UN Principles for Responsible Banking whose signatories have assets totalling $72tn, >45% of global banking assets.

Scottish finance should participate and benefit in these developments.

In A Fairer, Greener Scotland: Programme for Government 2021-22 Programme for Government (published 7th September 2021) the Scottish Government announced “a new industry‑led taskforce” that “will draw up Scotland’s action plan to capitalise on the opportunities of financing the global shift to net zero, setting out the actions we will take to promote and establish Scotland as a world‑leading centre for green and ethical finance, and leverage the potential of private finance.”

The Taskforce, led by Global Ethical Finance Initiative (Secretariat) in partnership with Scottish Government (Funding Partner) and Scottish Financial Enterprise (Industry Partner), will help to develop and oversee an action plan that will co-ordinate the local financial services to position Scotland as a leading global centre for green and sustainable finance.

The Taskforce will bring together industry leaders meeting 3 times per year, with separate working groups convening more frequently. The group will report to the First Minister’s Financial Services Growth and Development Board twice a year.

The Taskforce will look to:

  • Scope out the scale of the opportunity for Scotland within the UK and beyond
  • Develop domestic networks to enhance collaboration and position Scotland as a source of expertise in green and sustainable finance
  • Support the growth and development of Scottish green and sustainable financial products and services
  • Build capacity within the existing Scottish finance community and help develop a future workforce
  • Present Scotland’s “offer” to global markets to maximise green and ethical inward investment opportunities