The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), whose asset manager, bank and financial adviser members oversee £10trn in assets, is calling on the UK government to step up efforts to drive forward the country's efforts on sustainable finance.
UKSIF's ‘Policy Vision,' launched today (28 April), details measures that should be adopted in order to facilitate a net-zero future and enable the UK to become a world leader on ESG standards
James Alexander, chief executive of UKSIF, said: "As UKSIF marks our 30th anniversary this year, we should not underestimate the urgency of the ambitious action that must be taken to ensure the UK fulfils its net-zero and sustainability ambitions, and acts as an international leader. The government, regulators, and the sustainable finance industry all have a responsibility to act decisively to build a more sustainable future.
To demonstrate true leadership, the UK should seek to go beyond matching the ambitions of other countries, and draw on ‘best in class' standards set by leading global standard-setters."
"The UK sustainable finance sector is prepared to play its part and highlights the unique opportunity the government has to enhance the UK's global leadership on sustainable finance. We stand ready to work with government and others to shape the future success of this vital industry and embed the ambitious recommendations we have outlined, from the future of sustainable finance standards to net-zero pathways and biodiversity."
UKSIF's views also include recommendations on the future of the UK's sustainable finance standards post-Brexit, infrastructure investment, biodiversity policy and pensions.
On building the ‘green economy' at home, the organisation said the government must ensure the new National Infrastructure Bank has the necessary scale to deliver its net-zero mandate in practice. It added that the UK should develop an "ambitious" investment programme to provide a faster stimulus to the green economy, and commit to exploring social and sustainability-linked bonds ahead of COP26.
It also said the UK should "lead the way" in developing global sustainable finance standards.
"To demonstrate true leadership, the UK should seek to go beyond matching the ambitions of other countries, and draw on ‘best in class' standards set by leading global standard-setters," the report said.
As an immediate step, UKSIF said the government should provide greater clarity to industry over the UK's ‘green taxonomy' to drive forward leadership.
Downing Street should also "provide clarity urgently on what net-zero means" for each sector of the economy, providing net-zero strategies as soon as possible ahead of COP26 and embed consideration of net-zero into all decision-making.