A campaign in the run-up to the UN summit in Glasgow has been launched to bring the world’s finance sector together to address the climate emergency.
The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) will host a series of events in London, the USA, Gulf States and Asia ahead of the pivotal COP26 summit in November.
The ‘Path to COP26’ initiative is designed to encourage banks, asset management firms and other financial companies to demonstrate their commitment to the climate agenda.
That includes ethical investment decisions which help the environment, financing the clean energy sector, and offering ‘green’ options to clients for assets and pensions.
As well as the flagship Ethical Finance 2020 global summit in Edinburgh in October, a number of events on climate finance will also be held in Glasgow in November alongside COP26.
GEFI has already attracted six major partners – the Scottish Government; the United Nations Development Programme; Baillie Gifford; Royal Bank of Scotland; Chartered Banker Institute; and Shepherd + Wedderburn – and is inviting all organisations with an interest to take part.
COP26 will be the largest gathering of world leaders in the UK since the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics, and the Prime Minister this week focused on the event at the first Cabinet meeting of the year.
It is widely seen as the most important gathering on climate change since the Paris Agreement of 2015.
Omar Shaikh, managing director of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), said: “COP26 in Glasgow presents an unprecedented opportunity for the finance sector to come together to address the global climate emergency.
“The launch of the Path to COP26 initiative will see events held across the world in the run-up to Glasgow, focused on developing commitments to the climate agenda and how to deliver impact. We already have six major partners and would encourage more to join the programme.”
“All financial institutions need to enhance transparency and choice by highlighting the impact of what they are financing and offering ethical options to their clients.”
“There are great opportunities for asset owners to invest in the clean energy sector, and public bodies and individuals are demanding greener pensions.
“We cannot miss this opportunity to deliver for future generations.”
Gail Hurley, senior consultant to the Global Ethical Finance Initiative and former senior advisor to the UN, said: “All eyes are focused on the UK as this year’s host of what is arguably the world’s most important international conference.”
“Near the top of the agenda is how to mobilise the trillions needed for international climate financing programmes.”
“Within the financial services sector, interest has increased significantly over recent years in the ways it can – and should – look beyond short-term profit and shareholder value towards how it can drive positive social, economic and environmental impact.”
“Finance can be a positive force for change. The Path to COP26 initiative will accelerate the transformation towards a more socially responsible and inclusive financial system which serves both people and planet.”