Financing a Shared Future for All Life on Earth: the role of TNFD in a Global Biodiversity Framework - Biodiversity Day interview with Elizabeth Mrema, UN CPD & Lorna Slater MSP

Last week would have seen the crucial biodiversity summit COP15 take place, before it was delayed due to the pandemic. To mark both Biodiversity Day and the original date, and build moment before the rescheduled summit this Autumn, we hosted a discussion on Financing a Shared Future for All Life on Earth: the role of TNFD in a Global Biodiversity Framework.

We were joined by UN Convention on Biodiversity Executive Secretary & Taskforce for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Co-chair Elizabeth Mrema and Scottish Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater MSP, to discuss why we need to finance nature, the Global Biodiversity Framework, how governments can help and what the Scottish Government is doing in this space.

Despite on-going efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide and this decline is projected to worsen with business-as-usual scenarios. This session, aimed at global finance practitioners, is intended to raise aware and inspire practical action in relation to the critical need to finance. It will provide an update on global and national initiatives to help drive the action required to finance a shared future for all life on earth.

With the forthcoming Global Biodiversity Framework, the Convention on Biological Diversity is setting the stage for a worldwide re-direction of financial flows away from nature-negative and towards nature-positive outcomes. Market players are speeding ahead with testing the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) beta framework, to make it ready to inform and respond to these new international norms around nature, nature-based solutions and finance. As part of the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation, we have committed to establishing a values-led, high-integrity market for responsible investment in natural capital.

GEFI has a long history of supporting finance for nature, from a programme of collaboration between UNDP, GEFI and the Scottish Government, to the COP26 launch of an exclusive, commercial platform showcasing financial products that are directly aligned to the SDGs, and nature-focused sessions at our annual summits and COP26.


Climate and Ukraine: how to respond to the war by investing in renewable energy

This article was contributed by Martina Menegat.

Red pill or blue pill? Climate or Peace? Since the war in Ukraine has started, we have behaved as though it was possible to choose, but we cannot: we must swallow both pills at once. Energy security and climate security are more deeply intertwined than is generally assumed. A swift transition to renewable energies has the potential to secure a more stable future for the world, at once reducing dependency on regimes accused of rights abuses and decarbonising the energy supply.

The Adaptability Report released by the IPCC in February 2022 found that rising global temperatures have already caused substantial and increasingly irreversible losses across the word. It warns that half of humanity is already at serious risk from climate change, and this risk increases with greater warming. The report was described by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as ‘an atlas of human suffering’. The corresponding report on mitigation, published in April, highlights that there are 3 years left to act for keeping alive the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C .

At the Economist Sustainability Summit, Secretary General Guterres warned that ‘the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine risks up ending global food and energy markets, with major implications for the global climate agenda. As major economies pursue an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to replace Russian fossil fuels, short-term measures might create long-term fossil fuel dependence and close the window to 1.5°C’.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil, gas and fossil fuels generally, meaning that this war can reshape the world’s energy systems. The EU, a key player in the current geopolitical deadlock, imports around 40 per cent of its natural gas, 25 per cent of its oil and almost 50 per cent of its coal from Russia. However, even if the EU drastically reduces fossil fuel imports from Russia, it should be able to get through the next winter without power outages.

Moreover, the need to bring a rapid end to many nations’ reliance on Russian energy supplies may encourage faster transition to decarbonisation in Europe and beyond, as countries across the world adopt what German finance minister Christian Lindner described as ‘freedom energy’. The case for a phased decline of fossil fuels in the energy mix, however, does not rest on science and geopolitics alone. As the IPCC report on mitigation indicates, renewable energies have never been so affordable. Solar, wind, green hydrogen and batteries enjoy steep and durable learning curves that already make them cheaper than fossil fuels in many sectors and uses.

The same fossil fuels that are funding the conflict are also bringing our planet to multiple tipping points. Currently, we are about to cross 4 out of 10 planetary boundaries, including that of climate change, with others at risk. The biosphere is the fundamental ground on which to build resilient societies and economies. The decisions due to be taken in the coming months represent the last call to accelerate ecological transition.

Focusing back on Ukraine, what can finance do? As the speakers at GEFI’s recent event Responding to the War in Ukraine: Ethical Finance at a time of a crisis emphasised, finance can most effectively support Ukraine by deploying financial resources to accelerate the clean energy transition. This historical moment is well-suited to break the narrative sustained by the fossil fuel industry: that transitions must be long and slow. Deprived fossil fuel profits, amounting to a daily €700 million just from Europe, Russia would lose substantial income to support its military.

To actively support Ukraine, we can act in two ways: as investors, and as consumers. As investors, we must back clean energies, while as consumers, we must change our energy consumption patterns.  Renewable energies are clean, cheap and local, and they have the power to ensure a fairer and more democratic future for all countries.


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 Coordinator - Asia Pacific, UNEP FI
  • 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.


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.

Sign up now

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


EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT | Ethical Finance Round Table: Inclusion and Diversity

Our next Ethical Finance Round Table, taking place on the 22nd February from 14:00-15:30 GMT, will focus on the issue of inclusion and diversity; sign up now. While climate has broken past being a "niche" issue in finance, social issues are frequently neglected in the industry. We will ask whether the finance sector has done enough on inclusion, when it comes to race and ethnicity, as well other social issues including gender and sexuality.

8years on from the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, we still seem no closer as a society to resolving the tensions which brought them about. While these issues pervade society as a whole, the finance sector is a part of society, and this event aims to ask the tough questions of those in finance.

Is the sector doing enough, and what is its role?

Should it focus internally (on its own operations) or externally (on the assets it holds or manages on behalf of clients)?

We will be joined by moderator Amy Clarke (Tribe Impact Capital & GEFI Global Steering Group), Gavin Lewis (BlackRock), Lynne Highway (NatWest Group) and Prof. Alex Edmans (London Business School).