The UK financial services sector contributed 6.9 per cent of total economic output in 2019, and the sector is crucial to our post-pandemic recovery.
The minister for energy and clean growth, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, announced that they would, from April 2021, ‘assist banks, lenders, and insurers to invest in green technologies, clean innovations and companies with smaller carbon footprints‘.
Trevelyan said: ‘While the government has invested billions of pounds so we can end the UK’s contribution to climate change, we will not reach our net-zero target without mobilising private capital and unleashing the power of the free market’.
The Big Issue recently asked green leaders whether the proposed plans would kick-start a green trading revolution. Here’s what our Green Peer Natalie Bennett said to them:
“The modest £10 million in two green finance hubs is, of course, to be welcomed, and it is good to see that the money is not just going into the South East,” Bennett said.
“But the funding has to be considered against the fact that the Financial Services Bill, about to start its progress through the House of Lords, lacks proper reference to the need to ‘green’ the whole sector, including taking account of environmental risks.”
Bennett added the Government had to be more explicit about its terminology and what “green investment” meant.
“If the government is to be taken seriously on this then it needs to set out clear definitions of what a green investment is to avoid the risk of greenwashing,” she explained.
“This means no fossil fuels, no new nuclear and high standards of workers’ rights and environmental protection, not just climate.
“However, we must also go further and send a strong signal to public and private investors that putting money into activities like burning coal or extracting gas is a thing of the past.”
Bennett was also sceptical about a lack of data or research being the biggest barrier for those wanting to invest sustainably, saying ministers must provide “workable” plans as the UK chaired the COP26 environmental conference of world leaders this November.
She added: “Lack of research is not our biggest problem in green finance. Lack of action and lack of sensible, workable government policies and plans is something the rest of the world is surely going to notice from the chair of COP26.”
Read the full story at The Big Issue