Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing

Jay Owen Reforming Global Finance, SRI/ESG News, Transforming Finance

Introduction

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to commit in law to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In 2021, the government went further, setting in law the world’s most ambitious climate change target to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. To achieve this, the whole economy will have to transform. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is clear that immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed. This transition cannot be achieved without a significant shift of investment into sustainable projects and green technology. The financial system is therefore critical to achieving net zero and protecting the UK’s natural environment.

This shift is well underway. The market for Environment, Social and  Governance (ESG) investments in the UK has grown dramatically. Businesses and financial institutions are responding to the challenge and impetus to grow in responsible, sustainable ways. The demand for sustainable products is high: 70% of the UK public want their money to go towards making a positive difference to people or planet.1 And the market is responding: data from the Investment Association finds that 49% of the £9.4 trillion in UK assets were integrating ESG in their investment processes in 2020, up from 37% in 2019 (see Figure D). Continue reading