The London Stock Exchange (LSE) celebrated 2016 as the year of green finance over the weekend at a market opening ceremony during which investors were invited to support the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Nikhil Rathi, CEO of the LSE, called on finance leaders to join his organisation in signing the Paris Pledge for Action, an unprecedented gathering of businesses, investors, cities and regions committed to ensuring that the ambition set out last month by the Paris Agreement is met or exceeded.
Since the Pledge was published on 16 December, 1,200 organisations have joined: over 600 global companies, 180 investors with well over $13 trillion in assets, 110 cities and regions representing around 750 million people.
Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of Policy at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), which manages the Paris Pledge for Action on behalf of the French Presidency of COP21, said at the market opening: “The very nature of the Paris Agreement means that its true success lies in how effectively and ambitiously it is implemented. By joining the Paris Pledge for Action, organisations welcome what was agreed in Paris and more importantly they pledge to take action now so that targets governments committed to are met and even exceeded.
“Our recent ‘Unhedgeable Risk’ report shows that strong policy signals such as what came out of Paris can help offset climate risks for investors. We encourage finance organisations who haven’t done so to join the Paris Pledge for Action to translate the Paris Agreement into clear actions.”
The market opening ceremony was part of a day of action in London to promote 2016 as the year of green finance. On this occasion, the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial system published a new report analysing London’s potential as a global hub in the fast-growing green finance arena.
The report comes as policymakers and financial institutions are focusing on how to mobilise the capital required to implement Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change which were agreed last year.
Speaking at the London Stock Exchange, Nick Robins, Co-director of the UNEP Inquiry and co-author of the report, said: “London is not just a global financial centre, but also a hub for green and sustainable finance. It is striking just how many key global initiatives are clustered in London – whether on responsible investment, green bonds, unburnable carbon, sustainable banking, climate disclosure or insurance risk. One of our conclusion however is that sustainability can be sometimes a sleeping giant in London.”
Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman of the City of London, added: “Together with the London Stock Exchange, UNEP and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, we hope to impress on the whole market our determination to ensure that green finance sits right at the very top of the financial industry’s agenda. There’s much more to be done to mainstream green finance. Together we must look at how finance can be better channeled towards green and low-carbon projects, working with regulators and policymakers.”