It’s been a busy month at Positive Money! Below we share our view on key events from the last few weeks and some of the progress we’ve made…
Is the launch of digital cash finally on the horizon?
In April the government and Bank of England announced they are setting up a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Taskforce. With the right approach, this could be a big step towards a fairer money system that works for the public, instead of big tech and finance companies.
With the decline of cash and rise of private digital currencies like Facebook’s Diem, right now the future of money risks being surrendered to private global tech giants. But a CBDC is an opportunity for a new form of public money, as well as a public payments system, which could give all of us a new option for making digital payments without relying on the private banking sector.
Our reaction was covered in the Independent and This Is Money, and you can check out our brief explainer here. It’s welcome news that the government is planning to engage civil society with this new Taskforce — Positive Money will be working to mobilise a strong civil society response.
Central banks – leaders or laggards in the climate challenge?
A few weeks ago, we launched our latest report, The Green Central Banking Scorecard in a webinar with an international panel of experts.The report shows that the world’s biggest central banks and financial supervisors are so far all talk and not enough action on tackling the climate crisis. Check out our short video summarising the findings.
We got coverage of the report internationally in outlets like Reuters, Business Green, Environmental Finance and Foreign Policy. We’ll be campaigning on the report’s recommendations in the coming months – making MPs aware of the importance of central bank action ahead of the UN climate summit happening in the UK this Autumn.
Our economist David Barmes also co-authored an exciting new report entitled Financial Stability in a Planetary Emergency: The role of banking regulators in a burning world. The report was published by the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative as part of their thought leadership series on Aligning Finance for the Net Zero Economy. The launch event included a keynote speech by Ali Zaidi, Deputy White House National Climate Advisor.
Bank of England open forum next week
Next Thursday the Bank of England’s hosting an open webinar Q&A with Governor Andrew Bailey and Director Sarah Breeden on the topic: “the role of the financial sector during the pandemic and how it can help to aid the recovery“. An important discussion to have!
This is an opportunity to put your questions straight to the leaders of the Bank. So if you’re free between 5 – 6pm next Thursday 13th May, we recommend you register!
Three questions we’ll be submitting and hoping will be answered are:
- Instead of pushing on a string with monetary policy and taking interest rates negative, why doesn’t the Bank create new money for the government to spend directly, as even Blackrock has proposed?
- How many corporations have lobbied the Bank of England to change its policies to benefit them, like Greensill did?
- What concrete action is the Bank taking to ensure financial firms are no longer making investments that are incompatible with the government’s climate targets?
Positive Money’s view on Mark Carney’s Financial Alliance for Net Zero
We were quoted in the Guardian, FT and Business Green calling out the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero — a private initiative chaired by previous Bank of England governor Mark Carney. It fails to define net-zero clearly and is yet another voluntary alliance which doesn’t make any binding commitments. We can’t rely on banks to do the right thing out of the goodness of their hearts — what we need is actual regulation from central banks and other supervisors.
Treasury Committee join the call for a climate-safe financial system
We were very pleased that, after a two year inquiry which we fed into, the cross-party Treasury Committee has adopted key recommendations we put forward for greening the Bank of England ahead of COP26, in a new report which references our work. As banks continue to pour hundreds of billions into planet-wrecking fossil fuel projects, we urgently need proper regulation. As the Bank now has a mandate to support the Government’s climate targets, there’s no excuse for inaction. See our full reaction here.
More from the Blog
- The Highs and Lows of Andrew Bailey’s first year as Bank of England Governor.
- The Treasury and the City – still too close for comfort
Finally, some Positive Money organisational updates
We’ve recently published our latest two-year review, reflecting on the period April 2018 – March 2020. It makes us really proud of all we’ve achieved alongside supporters like you. We hope you enjoy reading it too (or you can check out this short summary).
We’ve had a few staff changes over the spring: we’re saying warm goodbyes to Shupikai Shenje, our operations and events manager and Hannah Dewhirst, our campaigner. Over the last three years Shupikai has ensured Positive Money’s running as a smooth operation and put on a bunch of successful events. Hannah’s mobilised thousands of people behind our campaigns, supported our local groups and made some excellent viral videos. Both are moving to new jobs supporting progressive change and we wish them well. We’ll miss you!
In June we’ll be welcoming a new campaigner, ops manager, and advocacy and campaigns assistant to the team. We’re also excited to be supporting the hiring of the first Positive Money US staff member. In their first year, they’ll be joining a coalition of organisations working for a climate-safe financial system, with a particular focus on the Federal Reserve.
Finally, we’ve been putting the final touches to our five year organisational strategy, which over 1500 Positive Money supporters fed into at the end of last year. We’re excited to share a summary of this on our blog soon.
Thanks for all that you do to support Positive Money. As a people-powered campaign, we couldn’t campaign for a fairer money and banking system without you.
Simon, Rachel, Zack and the rest of the Positive Money team
Positive Money relies on donations from generous individuals like you to carry out our research, education work and campaign for a fairer money and banking system.
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