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UK launches green finance initiative to grasp ‘multi-billion pound’ energy transition opportunity

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The UK government has established a new green finance taskforce in an effort to take full advantage of the “multi-billion pound” investment opportunity created by the low carbon economy.

Announced earlier this week by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury, the taskforce of senior financial experts has been created in a bid to accelerate investment in clean growth.

The taskforce will be immediately tasked with coming up with a set of proposals to trigger that acceleration and examine potential interventions, including the scaling-up of so-called green mortgages and efforts to make infrastructure investment more sustainable.

Sir Roger Gifford, the former Lord Mayor of London, will chair the taskforce which also boasts the following members;

  • Nikhil Rathi, CEO, London Stock Exchange
  • Michael Sheren, senior adviser, Bank of England
  • Robert Trezona, head, Cleantech, IP Group
  • Rhian-Mari Thomas, managing director, Barclays
  • Daniel Klier, group head of strategy and global head of sustainable finance, HSBC
  • Edward Northam, head of investment banking, Green Investment Bank
  • Charlotte Morgan, partner, global energy and infrastructure group, Linklaters
  • Mark Zinkula, CEO, with Meryam Omi, head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy, Legal and General Investment Management
  • Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer, Aviva Investors
  • Emma Howard Boyd, chair, Environment Agency
  • Bruce Davis, co-founder, Abundance
  • Nathan Fabian, director of policy and research, Principles for Responsible Investment
  • Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group
  • Dr Ben Caldecott, director, University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
  • Dr Paul Fisher, senior associate, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

The new measure was announced by climate change minister Claire Perry, who opened Climate Week in New York, US, on Monday morning. She said that now was the time for the UK to cement its position as a global hub for investment in clean growth.

“The transition to a low carbon economy is a multi-billion pound investment opportunity and a key part of this government’s industrial strategy. Developing standards to promote responsible investment in sustainable projects and establishing the Green Finance Taskforce will help ensure businesses across the UK take full advantage of it,” she added.

Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the Treasury, also commented, arguing that the UK’s financial services sector “has the power to drive green and sustainable development”.

However the move comes just a month after the government finalised the sale of the Green Investment Bank – which it established with the sole aim of investing in green infrastructure – to Australian finance house Macquarie.

While the government’s so-called ‘green share’ in the entity, now known as the Green Investment Group, has been designed to maintain its green mandate, there have been numerous concerns raised over the bank’s future prospects given Macquarie’s reputation for asset stripping.  

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