The World’s Net Zero Financial Centre

LSEG’s Jane Goodland speaks to Vincent Keaveny, City of London’s Lord Mayor, to discuss the transition towards London becoming a net zero financial centre.

LSEG’s Group Head of Sustainability Jane Goodland speaks to Vincent Keaveny, City of London’s Lord Mayor, to discuss the transition towards London becoming a net zero financial centre and the critical role that the financial services sector has to play in climate action.

The conversation focuses on how London is positioned to achieve this as a leader in capital markets, fintech and green sustainable finance. Vincent also explains how regulatory standards and disclosure regimes are vital to ensuring effective investment, and delivering on the city’s ambitious goals with the support of multinational development banks and DFIs.

The Net Zero Conversations series was filmed at the Net Zero Delivery Summit, hosted by the City of London Corporation in association with the COP 26 UK Presidency 2022 and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).

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Lord Mayor, welcome, and thanks forjoining us on Net Zero Conversations.Thank you. It's a real pleasureto be here with you today.So you took office in November 2021.Can you tell us what you've been up to since then?Yes. Indeed, I'm six monthsat this point into into my term of office,very busy, a very busy year.The primary role of the Lord Mayor these days is asambassador for the UK'sfinancial and professional services sector.We've all that history attached to the office.It's a wonderful officer.The heritage goes back to 1189.The first Lord Mayor took office in1189. I'm the 693rd Lord Mayor of London.But the history is a fantastic thing to have,but we can't, we can't be looking backwards.We've got to be looking forwards all the time.Using that history as a platformto look at the problems of today,to look forward to the challengesand opportunities of tomorrow,next year, the decades to come.So in that role as ambassador forour financial professional services sector,I've been traveling a great deal.I'm just, just back fromBrazil and Chile, for instance.Talking about the greatfinancial professional services here in the UK.Talking about innovation, fintech,and green and sustainable finance,which is a particular focus of course,of these couple of days here inLondon with the Net Zero Delivery Summit.So let's talk about emerging economies for a moment.And really the role that the UKcan take in helping those economies totransition to a more sustainable sourceof energy, for example. That's right.As I, as I mentioned, I'm justback from Brazil and Chile.One of a number of the international visits I'll make.And it's amazing how many conversationsI have around the world about the place that London has, ourfinancial services sector has, in assistingcountries in their development plansas they look to a greener and more sustainable future.And there's a great deal we could do,there's a whole series of things.And I just mentioned just a couple ofthings, the work we're doing, for instance, in India,City of London Corporation partnering with Tata,with Macquarie, climate finance leadership initiative.So looking for those projects,the investable projects, trying to matchthem up with the capital that is out there.I know talking to the institutions here in the city.There is plenty of capital.There's no shortage of capital to go intogreen, to green finance and green projects.It's a matter of making sure thatthe projects are investable,that the investors knowabout them and there's visibility.So we can do a lot there, we're working,so I say, in India,there's a great UK initiativein South Africa at the moment,we're looking at rolling out what we're doing in India,in Colombia, looking to do the same in Indonesia.So around the world just trying todeal with this issue of capital and projects.But alongside that as well, lookingat issues like standards,working with our international partners to makethe standards regime, disclosure regimesthese, these, these issuesmaking them more consistent acrossthe world because one thing you heara lot from the providers of finances is thatthe more consistency thereis in the regulation and in the standards,the easier it will be for the capital to flow,for that capital to be mobilised.And you talk about the projects being investable.Can you just elaborate on that a little bit?What does that really mean in practice?A lot of this is to make sure that the,that the right people are takingthe right level of risks in projects.So we'll certainly get where, as I say,there's no shortage of capital,but very often there are elements of risk,there's that unknowable element in it.When you're putting together a novelfinancing transaction in a part of the world thatyou may not have very much of a track record in,sometimes you need somebody to step in and totake that first loss piece in the transaction,the equity piece in the transaction,and that could be philanthropic capital,or it could be a multilateral development bank providinga guarantee just to take out that first level of loss.And that then really opens upthe scope for private finance to come in.At the moment, one of the problems we have is veryoften some of those actors,such as the multilateral development banks,are crowding out private financerather than doing what they should do,which is crowd it in. RightSo we need, we need a conversationaround that certainly is one of the thingsthat's been talked about a lot here overthe last couple of days at the Net Zero Delivery Summit,the role of the multilateral development banksand the DFIs.We need them to be playing that sort offacilitating role so thatprivate finance can follow in behind them,into these transactions around the world.It makes sense really to workin partnership to then buildconfidence in the private, private investor. Absolutely.Very much so. As I said, we need,we need that facilitating rather than that crowding out.And of course, there's a big political issue herebecause many of these development banks,they have their business models.So that will require the international shareholders,which are the governments of the world,to look at the mandate that they've given tothese institutions and see ifthat needs to change. And I think it does.And so does the UK talk toother countries about these challengesthen? That's very much.well it's big part of the COP26 agenda.It's going to be on the agenda in COP27 and discussionssuch as we've been having here inthe Mansion House over the last couple of days.Sort, I think, perhaps a little bit of an exaggeration,but I saw somebody talking about it on one ofthe social media channels just yesterday asCOP26.5, which is great, I'mvery flattered by that.But yeah, these are the sorts of opportunitiesthat exist and there's, there's,there's many more. There's a meeting Copenhagen later this week,again, governments getting togetherand talking about what they need to do.It, it requires real ambition.But the great thingI'm sensing in my travels and my discussion,certainly with UK government ministers,there is that ambition.They, people really wantto see delivery now on these goals.That's right. I mean, deliveryis the key word here, isn't it?Because we've heard a lot ofpeople talking about it's time thatwe turn these pledges andambitions into plans and action.So I think everyone's eyes are on that side.Just look at the look of the latest UN reports.There are not going to be too many moreopportunities to get this right.We have where we're passing various tipping points withthe way the world is running out of time to make it,to make a real difference to this.So we need to take action. We need tosee that delivery coming through.The Chancellor, the UK Chancellor has talked about Londonbecoming a net-zero financial centre.Sounds great. What doesthat actually mean in practice?Well, I had... the question I asked myself when I heardthe Chancellor announced that a couple ofweeks before COP26 last November.But it's great to see that some of the flesh isnow getting on to the bones of that idea.And we're beginning to seethe beginning to see what the Chancellor meant by that.And a lot of that is going to bearound transition planning.That's, that's, that's clearlythe government has picked thatup as a central to its activity in this area.So encouraging companies to produce transition plans,again, something that the stock exchange.London Stock Exchange is also looking at doing, sothat is very much part of the work towards a net-zerofinancial centre. The Transition Plan Task Forceworking alongside the Treasury towork out concrete stepsthat will ensure ultimately that London is,London is seen as thenet-zero financial centre of the world.And I believe it, I believe it will be.That's what I certainly getthat strong sense from people as I've travelled.And of course, underlying that the City of London itself,we have our own climate action strategy.We have ambitious... the City of London Corporation,the governing body of the City ofLondon will be, in terms of our own operations,we will be net zero by 2027.We're on track to hit that target.And we're looking at being net-zero acrossour activities, including our investments,our scope three, by2040, 10 years ahead of the government's target.And we're hoping, workingwith our partners, working with the firms,the institutions based here in the cityof London into the square mile at the heart of London.That we will be net zero across the square mile by 2040.Ambitious, but I believe it's achievable.It sounds actually listening to you isquite interesting because there's, when you,when you hear people talking about this topic,There's a whole range of attitudes from skepticalto pessimistic, optimistic, unrealisticsometimes, it sounds like you're hopeful for the future.I am hope, I am hopeful.I would probably put myselfsomewhere between realist, and optimist.I'm a natural optimist,but I think in this one we have to berealistic that there are big challenges andthat there are parts ofthe global financial systemthat we still need to convince andstill need to bring with us.But I think they, they are,we're gradually bringing them in.And part of that comes backto the point you made a little bit earlier about,about talking and the engagement,the international engagement, it's really important.We talk to our international partners,even those that are harder to persuade.In fact, probably mostparticularly those that are harder to persuade.So it's great that we can havethis on one of the fantastic things about this office asLord Mayor is the convening power of the office.It's probably if there'sanything that this office is about,It's bringing people togetherhere in Mansion House or inmeetings around the world, to haveconversations that might ormight not otherwise take place.It's a great advantage of not being a party politician,not being a professional politician in this role,I'm a professional, financial services professional.I'm a lawyer, capital markets lawyer.So I come I come to this role witha professional backgroundrather than a political background.And that makes it a lot easier to havesome of the conversations I have.Actually just to pick up on that.We talk a lot about the finance sector but,but not so much about the professional services firms.Tell me why it's so important tohave them in the conversation.That's... there's a multi, multilevel to that answer.First of all, they've got to be net-zero themselves.And a lot of... there's big progress we've made in thelegal and the accounting professions,for instance, and the consulting professions,a lot of the big players inthose markets are committing to benet-zero in their own activities,which is another, another part of the jigsaw puzzle.We've all got to be playing our part.But alongside that, they playa really key role in advising governments,in advising companies around the world.And very often can short-circuita lot of the issues that companies have.Good advice will smoothout many of the problems. I'veseen it over the years myself,working with companies, structuringcapital markets transactions.If you've got, if you've got good legal advisors,good accountants, good investment bankersworking on a transaction,it's a lot easier to get it done.And we've a lot of really good lawyers,accountants, and investment bankers here in London.Yes, I agree. One last question.If you don't mind Lord Mayor. Looking forward to a COP27,if there was one thing to make it a success,what do you think that might one thing be?Coming back to a point I made earlier,I'd like to see... becauseit's the African COP and I think we'll see,we'll see it very much in an African contextin Sharm el Sheikh in November.I'd really liked this issue around development banks,DFIs to be on the table and to have some,some really constructive thinkinghappening and decisions being madeabout their role in providingfinance to the developing economies.And I think that's gonna be a really critical partof getting this, getting,getting the answer to the net-zero challenge right,over the next few years. GreatIt's been lovely to speak to you. Thanks for your time.Thank you very much.

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