Ethical Finance Round Table: Accounting for Sustainability - Net Zero: Myth or Reality?

18 February 2021
Virtual meeting (register here)

At our next virtual Ethical Finance Round Table on Thursday 18th February 2021 at 14:00 GMT, we will be joined by Professor Michael Mainelli, Sheriff of the City of London, founder of Z/Yen and qualified accountant, and Jon Williams; Partner, Sustainability and Climate Change, PwC.

Prof. Mainelli and Jon Williams will discuss the faultlines and tensions in green finance’s pursuit of net zero, and how the accounting sector can help – or hinder – in this goal.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • How are carbon emissions actually calculated and what assumptions are used when allocating this?
  • Is carbon pricing achievable?
  • How do banks decarbonise their loan book?
  • Is carbon being fairly allocated across all asset classes or are equity asset managers being unfairly punished?
  • What are the current compulsory financial reporting requirements and how do TCFD, SASB and GRI reporting and disclosure frameworks help reporting reflect carbon risk?

The session will ask the big questions facing the accounting industry: have accountants been asleep at the wheel, or are they going to be a force for good in the fight against climate change?


Michael Mainelli

Michael is a qualified accountant, securities professional, computer specialist, and management consultant, educated at Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin. He gained his PhD at the London School of Economics where he was also a Visiting Professor of Innovation & IT.

Originally a research scientist in aerospace (rocket science) and computing (architecture & cartography), after directing the Geodat & Mundocart projects in Switzerland he became a senior partner with accountants BDO Binder Hamlyn directing global consulting, and Corporate Development Director for Europe’s largest R&D firm, then the Ministry of Defence’s 14,000 strong Defence Evaluation & Research Agency.

During a mergers & acquisitions spell in merchant banking with Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, he co-founded Z/Yen, the City of London’s leading think-tank, promoting societal advance through better finance and technology.  Z/Yen is renowned for its Global Financial, Green Finance, and Smart Centres indices.

Michael is non-executive director of a listed firm, Fellow of Goodenough College, Honorary Fellow of King’s College London, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of World Traders, Honorary Liveryman of the Furniture Makers, Water Conservators, Marketors, Tax Advisers, and International Bankers, and Alderman and Sheriff of the City of London 2019-2021.  He is Emeritus Professor & Life Fellow at Gresham College where he created the Long Finance initiative asking “when would we know our financial system is working?”.  He has been awarded Consigliere del Senato Accademico of L’Accademia Tiberina, British Computer Society Director of the Year, UK Foresight Challenge & Smart Awards for projects. His third book, written with Ian Harris, The Price Of Fish: A New Approach To Wicked Economics And Better Decisions, won the Independent Publisher Book Awards Finance, Investment & Economics Gold Prize.

Jon Williams

Jon leads the Sustainable Finance & Responsible Investment team within PwC’s Sustainability & Climate Change practice, offering market-leading strategy, transformation, risk management and reporting solutions to financial firms. He has a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, particularly relating to climate change, including climate finance and carbon markets, and natural capital risk management. Jon also leads PwC’s work globally supporting companies to implement the recommendations of the TCFD. His clients include financial institutions in both developed and developing economies, and has also advised companies in the retail, consumer goods, healthcare, energy and mining sectors.

Prior to joining PwC, Jon worked for HSBC for 21 years, with a variety of banking roles in Europe and Asia, most recently as Head of Group Sustainable Development. Jon developed and implemented HSBC’s sustainability risk strategy and their sustainable business strategy, with a focus on lending and investments related to climate change, forestry and microfinance.

Jon is a member of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and is advising the World Economic Forum (WEF) International Business Council on their ESG Metrics & Reporting Initiative. He was previously a member of the City of London Green Finance Initiative Steering Committee, co-chair of the Climate Markets & Investors Association (CMIA) TCFD Working Group, sat on the UK Green Investment Bank Sustainable Finance Group as an adviser and was Project Adviser to the World Economic Forum for the Critical Mass Initiative, the Energy Access Partnership and the Climate Governance Initiative.  Jon has also chaired the Equator Principles, the global benchmark for banks to manage social and environmental issues in project finance and the Climate Principles, a framework for the finance sector to respond to climate change.

This event forms part of our Path to COP26 campaign, and will take place via Zoom; to register for FREE, please click this LINK.


18 February 2021


14:00 – 15:30 (GMT)


Click below to register for the Zoom meeting.

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