Guernsey’s green focus – home and away

16 November 2018

Andy Sloan, Guernsey Finance Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy, reflects on recent significant developments for Guernsey Finance’s green ambitions and what can be done locally.

Earlier this year Guernsey was recognised by the think-tank Z/Yen as an emerging global player in green finance.

Since then we have seen the launch of the Guernsey Green Fund, a global first, regulated fund for green investments, publication of a discussion paper by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission on green insurance, and there are more product launches to come.

But for me the last few weeks have been a very humbling experience, learning first-hand about the strategies and tactics of some of the key players of the climate change mitigation agenda from the global leaders of Paris, London and Shanghai and others.

In recent weeks Guernsey has joined with other global finance centres in the commitment to the goal of sustainable finance – first in Shanghai at the AGM of the UN Finance Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) network, and then in Dublin where I was proud to represent Guernsey as we participated in the launch of its European arm – FC4S Europe.

Pat Cox, a previous chair of the European Parliament, was inspirational in Dublin, stating that what was most important was not what one has done to date, but the ambition one sets out to achieve –  calling for leadership in fighting climate change, and invoking the spirit of State Street’s “Fearless Girl”.

For me what resonated most was Pat outlining his fear that our generation is the last that can do anything to arrest climate change.

In speaking to my colleagues during meetings of Guernsey Green Finance, I make a similar point, that our efforts in green and sustainable finance are our contribution to saving the human race. I am occasionally looked at a little incredulously, but this is true, we have little time. The dinosaurs roamed the earth for 140 million years, as my four-year-old son’s library book reliably informs me, before an extinction event wiped them out. Our extinction event is self-made and hurtling towards us after just 40,000 years.

Despite the latest warnings of the International Panel on Climate Change, the majority of the population and many, many financial services professionals remain oblivious to the cause of sustainable finance or the scale of the task ahead. The IPCC estimates that about $2.4 trillion, or roughly 2.5% of global GDP annually, needs to be invested in the energy system between 2016 and 2035 to meet the goal of reduction in global temperature of 1.5 degrees.

Imperial College Business School runs a free online 20-hour introductory course on the issue.

I highly recommend it as a first step in joining the global fight for sustainable finance.

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