Westminster Business Forum

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Next steps for green finance in the UK - regulation, product innovation, the transition to net-zero, and the role in the COVID-19 economic recovery

January 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference focuses on latest developments in green finance in the UK.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; HM Treasury; the Treasury Legal Advisers; HMRC; the CCC; the DIT; DAERA, NI; Defra; the Department for the Economy, NI; DfT; DHSC; the Environment Agency; the Government Legal Department; the Infrastructure and Projects Authority; The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

The agenda:

  • The role of finance in securing a green economic recovery - investment choices, transparency, and the process of transition in a post-COVID-19 economy
  • Regulation and the development of the green finance market
  • Sustainable investments and the route to net-zero
  • What climate change means for the financial sector - innovation, new products, and consumer demand for green financial products and services
  • International comparisons and positioning the UK as a global hub for green finance
  • Ensuring every financial decision takes climate change into account - the role of professions and professionals
  • Managing the transition to net-zero - governance and climate-related disclosure, integration of climate change risks, and dovetailing with the green recovery policy agenda

Areas for discussion:

  • a green economic recovery - what this central government priority means for the green finance sector as the UK moves forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic:
    • strategies being adopted by individual business and segments of the green economy as they engage with opportunities
    • how can the sector best engage with policymakers on the way forward for green finance, including the support and regulatory frameworks it needs to underpin growth
    • realising the potential benefits for the sector and society as a whole, including the way ahead for attracting investment and job creation
  • transparency and stewardship - examining Financial Conduct Authority actions and next steps, and the sector’s response, looking at the way forward for:
    • climate change disclosures:
      • implementation - next steps, including by asset managers and life insurers
      • information to consumers - effective provision, and access to green financial products
    • climate change risk - next steps for the process of ensuring that it is factored in to the sector’s operations and decision-making
  • the Green Finance Institute:
    • assessing progress in its work to support integrating financial risks and opportunities from climate change into mainstream financial decisions
    • The Role of a UK national infrastructure bank in a green recovery - the Institute outlining expectations for the Bank announced in the Spending Review, including to have strong net-zero criteria and support the low-carbon transition in transport, built environment and nature conservation and restoration, as well as the energy sector
  • ESG investing - developments and opportunities:
    • global trends - assessing key factors affecting the prospects for the green finance sector in the UK, how they are affecting sector strategies, and how the UK compares with other countries
    • investor demand - the impact on the investment market of increasing climate awareness, and the growing shift in policy and behaviour making green stocks increasingly attractive
    • innovation - key developments such as those that are lowering the cost base of underlying technology and processes, and in investment products being offered
  • governance, disclosure and risk management:
    • reporting on sustainability factors
      • priorities for improving consistency in data, standards and methodology and levels of detail needed to help improve understanding of climate risk
      • issues for sector implementation and the process of regulatory scrutiny
    • greenwashing - the impact of greater transparency and how it is exposing companies to greater scrutiny, and the way forward for transparency in marketing of green investments
  • skills and training:
    • implementing aims in the Green Finance Education Charter - the way forward for financial professional bodies and business in making sustainability and green finance integral elements in curricula, qualifications, and professional development in the financial sector
  • green finance and economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19:
    • progress - assessing policy initiatives and the involvement of the green finance and other sectors in enabling a sustainable recovery
    • opportunities - what it means for the sector, and for clean growth investment, as well as sources of investment and employment
    • collaboration - how the sector can work with government, industry and the research sectors to identify and support areas that will make a positive contribution to the sector’s prospects and to the wider economy
    • focus - overall priorities, and next steps, for securing the alignment of investment strategies and best practice in the UK with the policy drive on net-zero and protecting natural capital

A scan of relevant developments:

  • The ten point plan for a green industrial revolution - the Government’s new policy drive with green finance as one of its central planks, with plans for a £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, a Sovereign Green Bond, and other measure including reconfirming the introduction of climate-related financial information
  • The Energy White Paper - outlining the Government’s investment programme aims for supporting up to 220,000 new green jobs over the next decade and keeping bills affordable as the UK transitions to net zero by 2050, and as the PM announces the UK will end direct support for fossil fuel energy sector overseas
  • HM Treasury’s interim Net Zero Review:
    • providing initial analysis and outlining choices government will consider to meet net-zero targets
    • with the Review’s final report due to be published later in 2021, which will look at how to encourage innovation in green technologies and address risks to competitiveness
  • Chancellor sets out ambition for future of UK financial services - with plans for the UK’s future leadership in green finance following the end of the Transition Period, including:
    • reporting:
      • making the UK becomes the first country in the world to make TCFD-related disclosures mandatory by 2025
      • implementing a common framework, outlining which activities can be classified as sustainable, to improve investor knowledge of the impact firms’ activities have on the environment
      • establishment of a UK Green Technical Advisory Group to review the metrics used to determine these classifications
    • new products - further initiatives expected to meet growing consumer demands for sustainable investment opportunities
    • the Sovereign Green Bond - to finance projects tackling climate change, including for low carbon infrastructure, to boost employment through the creation of green jobs
    • intentions to join the International Platform on Sustainable Finance
  • UK appoints champion to spur business on to net zero emissions - former Sky executive, Andrew Griffith MP, working on industry support and involvement in the move to net-zero and related global commercial opportunities
  • FCA announces proposals to improve climate-related disclosures by listed companies - requirements for all commercial companies with a premium listing to either make climate related disclosures consistent with the approach set out by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), or explain why not
  • CFRF guide - publication of the guide to climate-related financial risk management by the Climate Finance Risk Forum), co-chaired by the FCA and the PRA, which aims to help financial firms plan for the impact of climate policies, assess their exposure to climate-related financial risks and adapt their businesses in response
  • green infrastructure - growing calls from climate campaigners, economists and academics for green infrastructure investment to help revive the UK’s struggling economy and meet its climate targets, with discussion expected on the successor to the Green Investment Bank
  • the Green Finance Education Charter - part of the Green Finance Strategy aiming to integrate sustainability into training for finance professionals

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from BEIS; the Climate Change Committee; DAERA, NI; Defra; the Department for International Trade; the Department for the Economy, NI; the Department for Transport; DHSC; the Environment Agency; the Government Legal Department; HM Revenue and Customs; HM Treasury; the Infrastructure and Projects Authority; The Scottish Government; Treasury Legal Advisers; and the Welsh Government.

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 across investment and financial services, legal and other advisory practice areas, specialists in climate change and environmental issues, the wider scientific community and technology businesses, marketing and other consultancies, think tanks and charities, and academics working in this field, as well as 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 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

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles