Westminster Business Forum

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Priorities for green and sustainable finance in the UK - expertise, best practice and the green taxonomy, regulation, and wider economic and societal impact

Morning, Monday, 13th September 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on next steps for this increasingly important area of finance, looking at:

  • priorities for regulation, resilience, innovation, competition
  • the role of green and sustainable finance in the COVID-19 economic recovery and as part of wider government objectives.

The discussion coincides with a range of relevant policy developments, including:

  • announcement of new regulations for reporting on climate impact by 2025
  • establishment of a green taxonomy to determine whether an activity set to be developed in the UK is environmentally sustainable
  • the upcoming Bank of England climate stress test exercise

It also takes place in the run up to the UN climate change summit being held in Glasgow in November.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote session with Fayyaz Muneer, Deputy Director, Green Finance and Prudential Policy, HM Treasury.

The agenda will bring out latest thinking on:

  • innovation in green finance
  • ways in which developments in green finance can contribute to regional growth, recovery and resilience
  • supporting wider government ambitions for decarbonisation and sustainability
  • the future outlook for green and sustainable finance in the UK

The agenda:

  • Latest on innovation in green finance - and its role in supporting global competitiveness of the UK’s financial services
  • Moving forward green and sustainable finance in the UK:
    • developing expertise and best practice
    • implementing the green taxonomy
    • promoting investment, innovation, and responsible climate finance
  • Carbon policy ambitions and promoting resilience in finance - climate events, the upcoming stress test, and its implications for risk management processes
  • Latest thinking on regulation after the Financial Services Act
  • Avenues for maximising the sector’s potential societal contribution:
    • regional development, recovery and resilience
    • decarbonisation, energy efficiency and nature recovery
    • leadership by example in corporate social responsibility
  • Policy priorities for green and sustainable finance in the UK - the link with wider government aims, and the challenges and opportunities it raises

A scan of relevant developments:

  • Chancellor sets out ambition for future of UK financial services - including:
    • the announcement of new regulations for reporting on climate impact by 2025, including:
      • a mandatory climate-related financial disclosures framework for a range of financial institutions and businesses
      • with a number of disclosures expected to be required before 2023
    • a new Sovereign Green Bond aiming to support jobs, sustainable projects, and infrastructure investment
    • plans for the establishment of a green taxonomy, which:
      • will identify environmentally sustainable activities
      • is expected to be based on the system used in the EU but adjusted for the UK market
  • the National Infrastructure Bank:
    • following the 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment, and to be set up in Leeds
    • with some concerns that the funding behind the new Bank does not meet that recommended by the NIC
  • a new green finance research and advisory centre - based in London and Leeds, intended to provide guidance to the private sector
  • COP26 - the upcoming UN climate summit, due to take place in Glasgow this November
  • The Bank of England is restarting the Climate Biennial Exploratory Scenario (CBES):
    • the Bank’s climate stress test exercise
    • with scenarios expected in June and the final results to be released next Spring
  • UKSIF’s Policy Vision - launched in April, asking for:
    • clarity on issues such as the green taxonomy and how industries will achieve net-zero
    • collaboration on a just transition, international development, skills and diversity, and alignment with the Paris Agreement
  • Bank of England given green remit to aid net zero carbon goal - the Chancellor giving the monetary policy committee a duty to support government strategy on transition to a sustainable economy
  • the recent Climate Bank Roadmap - from the European Investment Bank
  • the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution - the Prime Minister’s plan from last year, including making the City a global leader in green finance, as part of work on the Green Recovery Challenge Fund

Key areas for discussion:
Innovation in green finance
- developing the contribution of green finance towards the global competitiveness of the UK’s financial services:

  • global leadership:
    • assessing the COP26 presidency’s key goal to push for finance towards climate objectives, and the President’s encouragement of investment in green recoveries
    • discussing reports that the Prime Minister plans to ask other leaders to provide climate finance for poorer countries, so as to avoid further environmental damage

Moving forward green and sustainable finance in the UK - promoting expertise, investment, innovation, and implementing the green taxonomy:

  • expertise - looking what will be required to build knowledge and skills in the green finance workforce, and priorities for training, upskilling and development
  • investment:
    • support for commercial viability of projects, developing understanding around value
    • access to information, and the quality of data and analytics available
    • optics and ethics - recent concerns around UK institutions investing in projects with large greenhouse gas emissions
  • innovation - priorities for initiating and scaling up projects, responsible approaches to climate finance, and assessing funding models and mechanisms
  • collaboration - the potential for furthering partnerships with key players in private finance
  • a green taxonomy - looking at evidence and efficacy for the UK, what can be learnt from practice in the EU and elsewhere, and examining the approach towards identifying green activities

Contributing to economic and societal development - financing local projects, supporting decarbonisation, and pursuing sustainable practices and ambitions in the private sector:

  • local and national impact:
    • the potential to contribute towards regional development, recovery and resilience, develop skills, and attract investment into local economies
    • the role of green finance in global competition
  • renewables - assessing the implications of the falling cost of renewables, a relatively low level of risk, and the potential for investment in infrastructure to create a large number of jobs
  • local government - looking at existing and emerging sources of finance for green projects
  • housing, the built environment, and energy - priorities for decarbonisation, enagement with stakeholders and access to information, and supporting public investment in decarbonising housing
  • nature recovery - exploring different project scales, standards, and collaboration
  • mixed priorities - looking at the influence of:
    • changing consumer demand for sustainable activities in the private and public sectors
    • investor demand for higher returns to meet higher levels of risk
    • businesses offsetting and going carbon negative

Government carbon ambitions and promoting resilience in finance:

  • planning ahead - the upcoming stress test, and its implications for risk management processes

Priorities for regulation:

  • the Financial Services Act - latest thinking on regulation, with government aiming to attract more innovative businesses to the UK

Policy priorities for green and sustainable finance in the UK - and challenges and opportunities around meeting wider Government aims

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and other participants to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from law firms; councils; local enterprise partnerships; economic development, investment and regeneration professionals; construction, energy and utility companies; insurance firms; pensions experts; consumer groups; banks and financial institutions; environmental charities and consultants; academics; and think tanks, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Fayyaz Muneer

Deputy Director, Green Finance and Prudential Policy, HM Treasury


Professor Iain Clacher

Professor of Pensions and Finance, Leeds University Business School; and Director, UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment Innovation Hub Development

Liz Gilbert

Tevi Capital Fund Manager, Cornwall Development Company

Ami Kotecha

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Amro Partners

Sarah Gordon

Chief Executive, Impact Investing Institute

Anna Bond

Green Finance Manager, Environment Agency

Simon Thompson

Chief Executive, Chartered Banker Institute and Chair, Green Finance Education Charter