Brexit has been top of the agenda for many City firms in recent years, but one issue that could disrupt business models even more significantly in coming decades is climate change.
In the words of Bank of England governor Mark Carney, the transition to a carbon-neutral economy poses an existential challenge and it is one we must urgently work together to tackle.
The City is at the frontline of this effort. We are world leaders in green finance and efforts to accurately price climate-related risks and opportunities. As one of the best tools available in the race to cut carbon, the City Corporation has been proactively encouraging the growth of the sector at home and abroad.
We’ve now held three green finance summits at Guildhall, bringing together thousands of experts and industry professionals from across the world to discuss the development of the sector and how the UK can play its role. We’ve also worked with the government to tailor policy aimed at helping businesses transition to a green financial system, helping to mobilise investment in clean and resilient growth.
Earlier this year, we decided to go further and launched the Green Finance Institute, an independent organisation sitting at the nexus of public and private sectors, with ambitions to mobilise capital to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon and climate-resilient economy.
We’ve also been busy developing the green agenda alongside international partners, launching the UK-China Green Finance Centre and the Green Belt & Road Investment Principles
And we are also seeking to practise what we preach. The City Corporation is taking bold and practical action to fight back, joining the global corporate leadership initiative RE100, which puts us alongside the world’s leading organisations committed to 100 per cent renewable power.
We are increasing the number of solar panels on our own buildings and looking to source renewable electricity from off-site projects like wind or solar farms, bringing new capacity onto the national grid.
Furthermore, our Plastic Free City initiative is backed by over 85 organisations employing more than 77,000 people.
Together, they have signed up to help reduce single-use plastics right across the Square Mile. Indeed, we have committed by spring 2020 to eradicate unnecessary single-use plastic waste at Guildhall and the Mansion House, and across the entire organisation by 2021.
And we’re taking radical action on harmful vehicle emissions, banning the purchase of diesel vehicles from our own fleet where there is a clean market alternative, and aiming to be the first UK authority to run a fully zero-emission fleet. Our new transport strategy prioritises the needs of pedestrians and cyclists to cut emissions and reduce motor traffic in the Square Mile.
Through this work, we are actively ensuring that the City remains ahead of the climate change curve for the benefit of London.
These are big changes for us, and while they may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, to quote climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg: “you are never too small to make a difference”.