From education to employment

Green Finance, Green Futures: Introducing green finance jobs to school students across the UK

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak brings his 'Green Box' - a variation on his traditional red budget box - to Finance Day at COP26 in Glasgow


When we think about jobs that save the planet, we rarely think about the financial sector as leading the way.

However, a new schools’ initiative from the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School is seeking to change perceptions and introduce the world of Green Finance to school students across Scotland and the UK.

Green Finance, Green Futures’ is a free resource developed to help explain and understand some of the key practices that support one of the main goals of COP26, ‘Mobilise Finance’.

The resource was developed at Adam Smith Business School in partnership with The Bank of England and Skills Development Scotland.

It emerged through conversations with prospective students and their parents who had heard about terms such as ‘green banking’ but were not sure what it meant or what kinds of jobs it might involve.

Over the course of three lessons, students, teachers and parents are introduced to a range of key terms, practices and jobs that support climate finance and green banking.

The lessons also include a range of video explainers from representatives from the United Nations, Scottish Government, independent think tanks and professional bodies such as the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and a variety of businesses, that can be downloaded and incorporated into other lesson plans within schools.

To support teachers and students, the University will also host a virtual Q&A at 10-11am on Thursday 11 October where a panel of experts of green finance and careers from Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Government and Bank of England will be on hand to answer any questions. 

George Boag, Director of Digital Services at Skills Development Scotland:

‘This resource is helping to make sure young people are thinking about the growing opportunities for ‘green jobs’ and how their future careers and financial practices can positively impact the planet.’

Omar Sheikh, Managing Director at The Global Ethical Finance Institute (GEFI), who contributed to the resource, said:

‘There has never been a greater time for the possibility of financial services to make such a seismic and positive difference to the environment. Ensuring young people know that the financial services sector offers them the opportunity to change the world for the better is vital for both the economy and the planet.

Louise Agius, MSc Environment and Sustainable Development and student intern who helped to lead the project said:

‘Sometimes when you’re at school, you assume that a career in economics or finance is just about making money. I hope that this resource will allow students across Scotland and the UK to see how they can help to address the climate emergency beyond the usual jobs we associate with addressing climate change’. 

Rory Selvey, MSc Economics, Finance and Banking and student intern who helped to lead the project said:

‘With COP26 coming to Glasgow, I’m proud to be part of an initiative that shows the University is not just about educating and supporting university students but is passionate about helping the whole of Scotland think about how they might become world changers surrounding climate change.’

UK will be the world’s first net zero financial centre 

3rd Nov 2021: The Chancellor will set out the UK’s plans to become the world’s first net zero aligned financial centre and welcome “historic” climate commitments from private companies covering $130 trillion of financial assets as he hosts Finance Day at #COP26 today (3 November 2021).

These commitments will help to create a huge pool of cash that could fund our net zero transition, including the move away from coal, the shift to electric cars, and the planting of more trees.

Convening the largest ever meeting of finance leaders on climate change, Rishi Sunak will set out the UK’s “responsibility to lead the way” and unveil a fresh push to decarbonise our world-leading financial centre.

Under the proposals, there will be new requirements for UK financial institutions and listed companies to publish net zero transition plans that detail how they will adapt and decarbonise as the UK moves towards to a net zero economy by 2050.

To guard against greenwashing, a science-based ‘gold standard’ for transition plans will be drawn up by a new Transition Plan Taskforce, composed of industry and academic leaders, regulators, and civil society groups.

In his opening keynote at Finance Day, Mr Sunak will hail the progress made to “rewire the entire global financial system for net zero” under the UK’s leadership of COP and reveal that over $130 trillion – around 40% of the world’s financial assets – is now being aligned with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement, including limiting global warming to 1.5C. 

These commitments come from over 450 firms from all parts of the financial industry, based in 45 countries across six continents, and have been delivered through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which was launched by the UK to harness the power of the financial sector in the transition to net zero.

The UK has also worked as chair of the G7, and in partnership with other G20 countries, to ensure all economic and financial decisions take the risks of climate change into account. The UK has convened over 30 advanced and developing countries from across 6 continents and representing over 70% of global GDP to back the creation of a new global climate reporting standards by the IFRS Foundation to give investors the information they need to fund net zero.

Celebrating this progress, the Chancellor will urge financial firms to “mobilise private finance quickly and at scale” and call on governments to enact bold climate policies to take advantage of these enormous financial resources.

Reiterating the importance the UK COP Presidency has placed on getting finance to the most vulnerable countries, Mr Sunak will also highlight that the $100 billion climate finance target will be met by 2023 and urge developed countries to boost their support to developing countries – including by helping them tap into the trillions of dollars committed to net zero by the private sector.

The UK will seek to address barriers to finance faced by developing countries with a series of new green initiatives funded from its international climate finance (ICF) commitment, including £100 million to respond to recommendations from the UK co-chaired Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance to make it faster and easier for developing countries to access finance for their climate plans.

In total, the UK will spend £576 million on a package of initiatives to mobilise finance into emerging markets and developing economies, including £66 million to expand the UK’s MOBILIST programme, which helps to develop new investment products which can be listed on public markets and attract different types of investors.

And in a further advance towards the $100 billion goal, the Chancellor will announce the launch of an innovative new financing mechanism – the Climate Investment Funds’ Capital Markets Mechanism (CCMM) – that will boost investment into clean energy like solar and wind power in developing countries.

The UK is already the biggest donor to the multilateral Climate Investment Funds, having contributed £2.5 billion, and will now give the returns from its investments (known as reflows) to CCMM. This new fund will use reflows to help it issue green bonds worth billions of pounds in the City of London – the world’s leading green finance centre – and could leverage an extra $30-70 billion from other sources for specific clean energy projects.

Janine Hirt, Chief Executive Officer, Innovate Finance said:

“As the voice of UK FinTech, we passionately support the development of the UK as the first net zero aligned financial centre. Net Zero transition will be driven by finance and capital markets and it will be enabled by technology and data. As a leading global centre for financial services and for financial technology and innovation, the UK can and should lead the way in rewiring the entire global financial system for net zero.” 

Dr Ben Caldecott, Director, UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) Chief said:

“This is huge. The world’s largest international financial centre will become the world’s first net zero-aligned financial centre. This is underpinned by world-leading regulation and the economy-wide adoption of net zero transition plans. This will spur demand for green finance and accelerate decarbonisation, not just in the UK but wherever UK firms do business. This will make a real difference and means the UK financial services sector will play an even larger role in providing the capital and financial services required to deliver net zero globally.”

“The UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment is excited to act as the secretariat, together with E3G, for the new Transition Plan Taskforce to develop a ‘gold standard’ for transition plans and associated cutting edge metrics. We are the UK’s national centre established to accelerate the adoption and use of climate and environmental data and analytics by financial institutions internationally.”

Julie Page, Chief Executive Officer, AON said:

“We welcome and support the Chancellor’s plans for the UK to be the world’s first net zero aligned financial centre. All industries have an important role in helping to achieve this goal and through Aon’s own 2030 net-zero commitment, we will contribute to this historical commitment and help lead the way towards a net zero economy.”

Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, Chief Executive, Green Finance Institute said:

“Today marks the day that green finance has reached a point of critical momentum. The amount of capital committed to the transition to net zero has reached unprecedented levels. The task before us now is to come together in radical collaboration to unlock investment opportunities at speed and scale so we can channel this wall of capital into real economy outcomes that not only positions the UK as the world’s first net zero financial centre but also delivers a just and resilient net-zero global economy”

Kay Swinburne, Vice Chair of Financial Services, KPMG UK said:

“This announcement will provide the financial services industry with a valuable set of unified metrics to measure progress towards decarbonisation and it is brave to put a gold standard in place for all companies raising funding. We’re pleased to see the UK lead by example by not only establishing the GFANZ initiative, but also expanding private sector commitments and supporting a science based approach to reporting standards.”

James Alexander, Chief Executive, UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) said:

“We warmly welcome the Chancellor’s ambition to make the UK the world’s first net-zero aligned financial services centre. As the first major economy to legislate to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, this is a natural step in the UK’s climate leadership journey and recognises the central role of the sustainable finance sector in addressing the climate crisis.”

“UKSIF and our members look forward to actively engaging in these next steps, particularly helping to build a shared definition of a good quality transition plan and more broadly a net-zero finance sector. Government and regulators should work closely with the financial services industry to identify the policies and actions required to progress our sector towards this world-leading ambition.”

Related Articles