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UK financial services primed to aid China’s green finance drive

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 01 Nov 2021

“There are a lot of things that the UK and China can achieve alongside one another,” said Alderman William Russell, 692nd Lord Mayor of the City of London, at the DiT-sponsored British Chamber of Commerce event on the future of Green Finance, held in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Since the establishment of the UK-China Green Finance Task Force in 2017, Russell pointed to other successful projects, such as ESG investment, TCFD disclosure, and green investment principles for the Belt and Road.

“I know there is the potential for even more areas of cooperation,” he said. “Indeed, the passion and dedication are evident. Hong Kong has committed to become a global leader in green finance and it is encouraging to see their participation in these global efforts, with an ambitious target to become carbon neutral by 2050.”

The Lord Mayor pointed to a recent Hong Kong policy address where HK$240m was announced to support various measures on climate change over the next 20 years, including promoting green finance.

UK financial services support

“Being the leading green finance sustainable hub, there are many ways that the UK financial services sector can support Hong Kong during this transition journey, with more countries and regions announcing their climate goals, it is important that we harness their enthusiasm and dedication at COP26, which is only days away,” said the Lord Mayor.

“But while each country can set their goals, what will really make these goals achievable, is collaboration.”

The City of London corporation will host a Green Horizon Summit at COP26 with events in Glasgow, London, and online to mobilise private finance for Net Zero.

“We hope China and Hong Kong’s Financial Services community will dial in and join our program through the hybrid platform. This will be a key milestone for many of us to share experiences, discuss ideas and shape the transition pathway ahead,” he added.

UK positioning

Russell added that while expertise and sustainable finance can be found across the world, the UK is unique as a centre in its breadth and depth which has been bolstered by strong support from government and regulators.

He cited the recent £10bn green government bond; TCFD by 2025 and London’s rating from the Global Green Finance Index.

“The London Stock Exchange has 260 sustainability bonds from 23 countries; they have raised over £56bn. We have 180 ESG indexes, and we have almost 100 green equity issuers, with a combined market capitalisation of £140bn,” he added.

A cluster of international firms in the UK with global reach, expertise, and capital markets, makes the nation the ideal place to link demand for green investment, he said, with global sources of funding.

“To achieve our climate goals, participation and commitment from all global players will be key,” said Russell.

“This is why platforms like the UK-China Green Finance Task Force are so important. They allow partnerships to flourish.”

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