Japan Society chairman Bill Emmott is joined to discuss the important issue of green and sustainable finance by two experts in the field: Roger Gifford, chair of the UK Green Finance Institute and a senior banker at SEB and Mari Yoshitaka, Principal Sustainability Strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co Ltd.
The recent Earth Day Leaders’ Summit on Climate saw government after government committing to new and more ambitious emissions-reduction plans with the nearer-term target of 2030. While welcoming these moves, UN Climate Change has challenged leaders, in the run up to COP 26 in Scotland in November, to deliver vital finance commitments to turn these plans into actions, including on the US$100 billion goal in support of developing countries’ climate action.
Worldwide, climate change and environmental degradation have brought this issue to the top of the agenda, especially given the change of administration in Washington. But enabling a rapid green and low-carbon transition requires large investments. As public and private sectors have begun to seek ways to channel capital towards a net-zero carbon and resilient economy, ‘green finance’ has moved from the fringes to centre stage. Since 2018, Z/Yen’s Global Green Finance Index has been tracking the quality of green finance offerings in global financial centres, and in its most recent report predicts that previously dominant centres in Western Europe will face increased competition from North America and Asia/Pacific centres.
How is the sector likely to develop, and will it succeed in driving what has been identified as a ‘post-pandemic green recovery’? What is the role of policies and regulations in scaling up sustainable finance and low-carbon infrastructure investments in Japan and the UK? What will it take to meet Japan’s and the UK’s 2030 targets?
Sir Roger Gifford is chair of the UK Green Finance Institute and a senior banker at Skandinaviska Enskilda Bank (SEB). He led the UK Green Finance Initiative from 2016 and chaired the UK Government's Green Finance Taskforce in 2018. He was a member of the advisory panel for the Dasgupta Review (2019-21), the independent review commissioned by HM Treasury on the Economics of Biodiversity Loss. Having joined the Nordic bank SEB in 1982, he led the bank’s operations in Japan (1994-2000) and in London (2000-2017). Roger was Lord Mayor of London in 2013. Roger has two sons living in Tokyo and is a regular visitor, when allowed. He was a member of Governor Koike’s taskforce on developing Tokyo as a Global Financial City and is a member of the Japan Markets Advisory Group of TCUK as well as a trustee of Japan House.
Dr Mari Yoshitaka is Principal Sustainability Strategist, Deputy General Manager of Corporate Planning Dept., Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co Ltd (MURC). She joined Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in 2000 to start up the Clean Energy Finance Committee, and transferred to MURC in May 2020. Her area of expertise is climate change policy, especially climate finance and mitigation projects, in the fields of ESG investment and SDGs business. Mari is a member of World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Japan, Financial Services Agency’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, and the Cabinet Secretariat’s Expert Panel on Climate Change, amongst others.
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