The Channel Islands finance sector will have to “play its part” in the wake of COP26, according to a professional services Consultant.
Geoff Cook, Chair of Mourant Consulting, a law firm-led professional services business which is headquartered in Jersey, has been reflecting on the recent summit.
Billed as “the world’s last best hope to avert disaster”, Mr Cook said it had “real ramifications for the private sector”, and that although International Finance Centres, including Guernsey and Jersey, have made a “positive step” towards combatting climate change they also need to contribute to science-based targets, being set now.
“The concepts of sustainable finance and ESG investment have entered the mainstream; accelerating the flow of capital into climate-friendly investments will be both required and expected”, he said. “Governments and regulators will be looking to hold businesses responsible for their every financial decision, taking climate change into account.”
Prior to COP26, the UK Government published Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing, which Mr Cook describes as outlining aims to ‘green’ the financial system, including through new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements.
It includes measures such as a requirement for trustees of specific occupational pension schemes to ensure they embed climate change risk into their governance, strategy and risk management processes.
“IFCs will want to make contributions to setting science-based targets for 2025-2030,” suggests Mr Cook, “committing to phase out coal finance, announcing new net-zero adaptation-aligned financing to developing countries and emerging markets, and committing to nature-positive finance action.”
He praised the proactivity seen already amongst British IFCs, highlighting Guernsey’s Sustainable Finance Week, but Mr Cook said IFCs will need to continue to be on the front foot and evidence their contribution.
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