Former Bank boss Mark Carney says City must lead climate fight

Scottish Widows, which looks after six million people’s pension savings, said today it will sell nearly £500m of shares in companies which fall short on climate change. 

Its move – one of the most significant shows of support for green investment by a City institution – coincides with a speech on the environment and finance by Mark Carney. 

The former Bank of England governor will tell an audience of global grandees that climate change will create ‘the greatest commercial opportunity of our time’. 

Environmentalist: Mark Carney will say that climate change will create 'the greatest commercial opportunity of our time'

Environmentalist: Mark Carney will say that climate change will create 'the greatest commercial opportunity of our time'

Environmentalist: Mark Carney will say that climate change will create ‘the greatest commercial opportunity of our time’

Backing from a big-name investor like Scottish Widows is a major boost to Carney, a passionate environmentalist. 

Green investment was for years viewed as a fringe activity in the City. However, attitudes have changed as investors realise there is money to be made. Scottish Widows is the latest in a string of big pension providers to refuse to put money into companies that fail to meet its environmental standards. 

It will sell shares in firms which derive more than 10 per cent of revenue from thermal coal and tar sands along with those in some weapons makers and companies that violate the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and corruption. 

Maria Nazarova-Doyle, head of pension investments, said these companies are likely to see ‘significant falls in their share prices’. Her actions coincide with a three-day Green Horizon Summit. 

In a keynote speech, Carney will say that if the UK is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the whole economy will need to change. 

This will have to involve ‘every company, bank, insurer and investor’ and will create ‘the greatest commercial opportunity of our time’. The socially-distanced gathering will be attended by Prince Charles among others. 

Carney is understood to back Boris Johnson’s plans to put green projects at the heart of Britain’s post-coronavirus strategy. Carney wants banks and other finance firms to take into account climate change in all their decisions.

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