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.”


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


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