Imperial College London to host UK green finance hub
The UK government is investing £10 million in a new national green finance research centre that will advise lenders, investors and insurers, enabling them to make environmentally sustainable decisions, and support a greener global economy.
Imperial College London will house one of two new physical hubs that will help companies and start-ups to commercialise products and services to transform global finance. Examples include tools that measure storm and flood risk facing properties and data that tracks the pollution created by companies.
The UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) has been awarded £10 million by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Led by the University of Oxford with support from Imperial College London and six other institutions, the new centre aims to ensure data and analytics on climate and environmental impacts will be at the heart of global finance.
The physical London hub will be hosted by Imperial’s Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment at Imperial College Business School. Activities will be housed at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (Ri), as part of a new partnership to bring Imperial’s expertise closer to London’s investment community.
The CGFI will rely on a network of experts in climate, environmental science, computing, engineering, finance, business and innovation. Professor Ralf Toumi, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment, said: “The financial sector is crucial to enabling a greener future. However, it urgently needs information on global climate and environmental risks.
“We are excited to bring our science expertise on, for example, extreme weather to this new centre. Imperial will provide the London innovation hub, which will host the entrepreneurs who will develop the risk data and tools for the sector.”
Imperial will expand its MSc in Climate Change, Management & Finance, which trains future business leaders on how climate action demands changes to finance, management and investment. The programme, which started in 2016, is run jointly by Imperial College Business School and the Grantham Institute.
Dr Charles Donovan, Executive Director of the Centre for Climate Finance & Investment and Professor of Practice in the Department of Finance at Imperial College Business School, will be a leading figure in the new initiative, alongside Grantham Institute Co-Directors Professor Ralf Toumi and Professor Martin Siegert.
Dr Donovan said: “Our Masters in Climate Change, Management & Finance programme provides business students with an understanding of climate change and climate science students with business skills. It’s this combination of knowledge and skills that will make changes happen in practice. And unless new approaches are adopted in the investment community soon, we will not be able to respond in time to the climate crisis.”
Imperial’s newly appointed Honorary Senior Fellow in Climate Finance, Josue Tanaka, a former international development banker, said that in pursuing a net-zero future “without finance, there is not action on the ground.” He added: “Climate finance is essential to achieving the Paris Agreement climate goals. I’m talking trillions of dollars per year within a short time as we have less than a decade to shift the emissions curve.”
The CGFI builds on Imperial’s growing reputation for research on green finance through the work of the Centre for Climate Finance & Investment at Imperial College Business School. The centre aims to address the challenges and opportunities that climate changes poses to businesses to help companies transition to a lower-carbon future. Recent initiatives include the launch of a new research hub dedicated to green finance and talent development in Singapore and an EdX course aimed at helping executives working in financial markets understand the financial risks and opportunities arising from climate change.
Funding for the CGFI was allocated through the Climate and Environmental Risk for Resilient Finance programme, which was launched by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Innovate UK in February 2020.