Financial services industry has ‘jumped ahead’ of Govt on climate change

Both corporates and the financial services industry have “jumped ahead” of the Government in the development of strategies and solutions to climate change, according to UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, Mark Carney.

Speaking to delegates at PIMFA’s inaugural Virtual Fest earlier today, the former Bank of England (BoE) Governor suggested professionals in the financial services sector had started to see climate change and the approach of corporates to achieving the Government’s target of net zero carbon emission as “a new vector of value”.

Carney said: “Corporates and the financial sector have jumped ahead of government. Companies that have a strategy will be rewarded. This is not a passive investment strategy, you need the information, but you also need the judgements around it. So yes I do think the industry is leading and I think the public will soon jump a bit ahead of us as well.”

Carney suggested one of the key issues for government policy was that it was going to have to be “consistent on the path to net zero carbon emissions”.

He also outlined the scale of the challenge facing world leaders in reducing carbon emissions, and highlighted that the recent COVID-19 crisis had seen a 6% fall in the level of global carbon emissions.

“We would need to see that globally compound in order to achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” the former BoE Governor also warned. “So the scale of the challenge is quite significant. This is a whole economy adjustment, this isn’t just about niche products or renewable solutions or fossil fuels.”

PIMFA chief executive, Liz Field, added: “How the economy evolves, in the years to come to meet the twin challenges posed by the immediate pressure of the COVID-19 outbreak and the need to meet our climate goals, is likely to have profound and long-term implications for future generations.

“Transitioning to a whole economy approach to achieving net zero carbon emissions will require policymakers and industry to work together. But it is clear there is a desire to meet the climate change targets and that there is demand for a greener economy. Wealth managers and financial advisers will play an important role in helping investors to support those companies offering solutions to the climate crisis.”

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