Reading climate science supports UK green finance research centre
15 February 2021
Climate research at the University of Reading will contribute to a new £10 million research centre that will advise lenders, investors and insurers on making environmentally sustainable decisions, and support a greener global economy.
The UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) launched today (Monday 15 February) and is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Scientists at the University and the Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA), based on the University’s campus, will contribute the latest research on climate change and sustainability to financial institutions around the world, which currently struggle to access reliable information.
The University’s role will be to investigate the impact of climate change on wind and flooding risk to properties in the UK and Europe, while the IEA will provide analysis, data visualisation and application development.
Professor Rowan Sutton, Director of Climate Science for the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), based at the University of Reading, said: "The finance and investment industries are waking up to the critical impact of climate change on the value of assets and portfolios. To make prudent decisions they require the very best information about how climate change is affecting hazards and risks all over the world, which is a major area of NCAS expertise and capability. We are delighted to be playing a central role in this innovative new venture."
Professor Len Shaffrey, climate scientist at the University of Reading and NCAS who is also contributing to the work of the Centre, said: "Banks, pension funds, and insurance companies are looking to better understand the financial implications of climate change. At the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, we are very much looking forward to working as part of the Centre for Greening Finance and Investment to help financial institutions access the latest science on the changing risks of storms, floods, and droughts."
Colin McKinnon, CEO of the IEA, said: “We’re pleased to be working with some leading partners to use our expertise in environmental data analysis and software engineering to help develop tools which can support financial institutions to manage their climate change risks.”
Considering climate in financial decisions
The Centre, led by the University of Oxford, will support economic growth while transitioning to a low carbon economy in line with the Paris Agreement.
New physical hubs in Leeds and London will support companies and start-ups to commercialise products that can green global finance, including tools that measure storm and flood risk-facing properties or the pollution created by companies and the liabilities that result.
The Centre will work with finance professions, such as the Chartered Bankers Institute and Chartered Financial Analysts UK, to ensure that every professional financial decision takes climate change into account.
Other institutions involved include including the Universities of Bristol, Leeds and Imperial College London, as well as The Alan Turing Institute and the Satellite Applications Catapult, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council. In the summer a full range of financial institution and corporate partnerships will be announced.
Work will begin in April, ahead of this year’s COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow. The CGFI will deliver on commitments made in the UK Government’s 2019 Green Finance Strategy, and the announcement signals the UK’s commitment to using its global finance sector to support the transition to a net zero carbon and nature positive future.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Government Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, said: “The UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment in London and Leeds will encourage financial services to turn the tide of their investments and focus on sectors and companies that have a smaller environmental footprint.
“Doing so will support industries and businesses to develop clean green innovations, creating thousands of jobs across the country – ensuring we build back greener.”