Call for Scottish firms to join international green finance trade delegations

Scottish fintech and green finance businesses are being offered the chance to join future trade delegations with the UK’s financial services ambassador to promote sustainable investment.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 6:14 am
Russell's mission is to 'turn green finance into the norm'. Picture: Mike Williams

Lord Mayor of London William Russell, the elected head of the City of London Corporation, is actively seeking companies to take part in upcoming trade visits to China, Japan and the Gulf.

Russell is currently in Scotland, having yesterday co-chaired a roundtable with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to bring together investors and business leaders in the green finance sector, including representatives from HSBC, JP Morgan, and Aberdeen Standard.

As well as his mission to “turn green finance into the norm”, Russell is looking to make connections with investors and innovative eco-friendly businesses based in Scotland.

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He told The Scotsman: “My visit here is a bit of a call to action that the green finance sector is really that important. So is fintech but green finance is the big focus. If there’s anything that we can get from the Scottish community that would be wonderful.”

Russell, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial and business world, was formerly a board member of Innovate Finance, the industry body for the UK based fintech community

He said: “You feel that green finance is where fintech was three years ago. You’ve got this huge momentum in the sustainable finance area. And it’s there because the world has finally woken up to the fact that climate change is real and we’ve got to do something about it.”

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He emphasised the need for government and corporate players to fund green projects, as the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate estimates that $90 trillion (£69tn) will need to be invested globally by 2030 to transition into a sustainable economy.

This includes spreading the word on green bonds, whose proceeds are used to fund environmentally-friendly projects. Green bonds accounted for 2.8 per cent of global bonds proceeds last year, more than tripling their market share since 2015.

Russell’s visit comes ahead of Glasgow hosting the COP26, the UN’s climate change conference, in November. “All roads lead to Glasgow and COP 26,” said Russell. “That’s where, in my view, we have to come out with something that is positive and tangible.”