Chief Executive, UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF)
A clearer outline of the UK’s long-term economic strategy for each industry and sector would help investors direct the huge flows of investment that will be necessary to drive a transition to net zero carbon emissions.
Across the country the sustainable finance sector, supported by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), is grappling with, and seeking to help address, the challenge of transitioning to a net zero future. The Government should be praised for setting some of the toughest emissions targets in the world and publishing its recent vision for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’. However, it is now necessary to put the ‘meat on the bones’ of this vision and to develop a more comprehensive industrial strategy to go alongside it.
With this strategy in hand, sustainable investors – many of whom have started to make their own net zero commitments – can determine how to best shape their portfolios to deliver good returns for clients and benefits for the wider economy.
Clarity on investor stewardship
Crucially, greater clarity would help support the work of investors in stewardship of their investments. UKSIF’s members are uniquely placed to shape the companies they hold shares in through voting at AGMs and actively engaging with company management and boards. A much clearer picture of the economy of the future will encourage investors in pushing for the transition of investee companies, ensuring these companies can continue to play a role in a net zero economy.
The Government should ensure that every decision taken in Whitehall moves us closer to a sustainable future.
UKSIF’s Policy Vision, published last month to mark the organisation’s 30th anniversary, outlines key steps the Government, regulators and industry must take to build the environmentally and socially sustainable future we wish to see. Our report asserts the sector’s desire to act as a driver of positive change and makes bold recommendations to government, including on the necessity to outline comprehensive net zero strategies as soon as possible.
Creating a sustainable future
The Government should ensure that every decision taken in Whitehall moves us closer to a sustainable future. Every draft law, budget statement and policy consultation should outline how the proposed changes can contribute to our net zero target and, help us to ‘build back better’.
However, government or finance alone will not deliver the future we all want to see. Every part of society and the economy must each play a role.
With a strong vision, a clear pathway, closer collaboration and a laser-sharp focus we can achieve a more sustainable future. But the time to act is now.