Turning Climate Pledges in to Plans

LSEG’s Group Head of Sustainability Jane Goodland speaks to David Schwimmer, LSEG’s Chief Executive Officer, to discuss the critical role that the financial services sector has to play in climate action.

The conversation focuses on how the industry is facilitating investment to reduce emissions via voluntary carbon markets, and is also leading change in disclosure and regulatory standards to ensure effective capital allocation and delivery of mandated climate transition plans.

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).

David, welcome and thank you forjoining us on Net Zero Conversations today.It's great to be here Jane. Thank you very much.So the finance sector made some really bigpledges back in last year at COP26.The question that we will have though,is how do we really start to changethose pledges into plans and plans into action.So you're absolutely right.Some significant pledges,some significant commitments atCOP26 in terms of phasing down coal,in terms of a number of other things,in terms of really the role offinance. It was known as the first finance COP.And I think that's legitimate anda pretty significant engagement by the financial sector.And a real follow-up in termsof the commitment that we've seen since then.So to your point of takingpledges and turning them into plans,taking the plans and turning them into actions.We are seeing that.And I'm seeing that for examplein GFANZ, which madea big significant appearance at Glasgow.And then we've had a number of work streams ongoingsince then. I'm involvedin co-leading the real economy transition work stream.But there are a number of other work streamsthat are really trying to get into,I'll say the, some of the details and some ofthe nitty-gritty of determining standards,determining particular issues thatwe can work through and where we can make progress.And these are all some challenging issuesand there are no easy answers,but we are seeing some real progress.Then we're also seeing some progress in terms ofthe behaviour of companies,corporates, asset managers, asset owners.and the financial sector more broadly,so feels like we're making progress.Now. Carbon markets, an interesting part of the market,we've got compliance markets in some parts of the world.What's the role of voluntary carbon markets,do you think, as we move to a more sustainable economy?So voluntary carbon markets do have a role to play.It is not a substitute for decarbonisation,but we will get to a point,and in many ways,there are opportunities to exercise to this now,where there are, there are aspects ofthe world that we cannot decarbonise.So if we can create, through voluntary carbon markets,a market that allows the raising of capital to financeprojects that will help mitigate carbon emissions,that is valuable in and of itself.It is also a way of raising capital toallocate to these mitigation projectsin emerging markets,developing markets where there is a huge opportunity withthe availability of capitalto drive reduction of carbon emissions.And so I do thinksignificant opportunity for voluntary carbon markets.The London Stock Exchange at Glasgow announcedour plans to build and launch a voluntary carbon market.This morning, we issueda public market consultationaround the market rules that we have set up for that.So making good progress there and looking forwardto that launch of the market in the coming months,and then using the capital raised onthat market to financethese mitigation projects.I think it will be very useful.Yeah, that seems like a really tangibledeliverable of some ofthe change. When we thinkabout the policy environment that we're operating in,can you talk to me a little bitabout what you think that policymakersaround the world should be doing tocreate the environment within which investors,other financial institutions andthe real economy companies can reallystart to accelerate this transitions,because we need the right policy environment right?So in some ways there's this sensethat we've made a lot of progress in terms of for exampledisclosure of emissions.But the work we've done,the research our team has done shows that42% of large-caps andmid-caps globally havenot disclosed their scope one, scope two emissions.So that's a big percentage.Yes. We have a long ways to go there.A lot of the disclosure that is done is of mixed quality.And then we've also done some researchthrough our index business FTSE Russell,that where there are disclosure gaps,investors make estimates anda large percentage of the time they'reway off in terms of those estimates.So we have a real issue here in terms of disclosure,in terms of the quality of disclosure,and then in terms of what happenswhen we don't have the disclosure.So that is an obvious area an obvious opportunity for theregulators to step in, and this is on a global basis,to really mandate frameworks fordisclosure, Sustainability disclosure shouldbe aligned with TCFD and ISSB.I think we also have an opportunity for governments to,and regulators to require the disclosure of the breakdown ofgreen and non-green revenues, so that investors havethe information to allocatecapital where they want to allocate capital.And then the final aspect of... there will certainly be more,but another aspect of this isthe mandating of climate transition plans.And we're seeing that here in the UK,where we and others are workingwith the transition plans taskforce.But mandated transition plansthat are public are coming. At LSEG,we made ours public a couple of months ago and hadour shareholders vote on it at our AGM.And I think that is something that it'sgreat for companies to do evenbefore it becomes mandated.But governments should mandatethat as well because we need tohave an understanding of how companies aregoing to drive towards this transition.And does this level of disclosure need to happen inboth the private and the public markets? And if so, why?Yes is the answer, it has to be across the economy.We can't be in a positionwhere you apply these standards,or these requirements to for examplejust listed companies, just publicly traded companies.That will, in many cases just drive a lotof the emissions intoprivate sector hands, non-publicly traded.And that is not helpfulfor what we all are trying to achieve.So it has to apply across the economy.It has to apply topublicly traded companies, privately held companies.And we need to do this on a global basis.We can't have it bethe case in certain countries or regionsor regulatory jurisdictions and not in others becausethat will also drive regulatory arbitrage.One final question for you, as we move towards COP27.What's the one thing that you think thatwe all need to do to make it a success?I think we have to havea clear recognition that time is not our friend here.And we, we really have to make progress quickly.I think carbon pricing in all ofits controversy and all ofits challenge in some political areas,we have to consider that more forcefully.And then I think the comment I was making earlierabout the real need for mandated disclosure,mandated transition plans. Absolutely criticalwe get there as quickly as possible and it willtake time for those rules to be put in place.But as soon as there isa clarity around the direction of travel for those rules,companies should do it voluntarily to get ahead of it.Great. Thank you very much.Thank you, Jane.

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