Work to establish UK’s sustainable finance leadership gathers momentum as part of Government’s Green Finance strategy

02 July 2019

Public consultation on first sustainable finance PAS to open this month

Work being led by BSI, the business improvement company, to define new globally applicable standards for sustainable finance is underway as the Government today publishes a new UK Green Finance Strategy.

BSI, in collaboration with the financial services industry and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is implementing a five-year standards development programme to help the industry define best practice for sustainable finance. Thought leaders from a wide range of industry and academic organisations are involved in the Strategic Advisory Group guiding the programme.

Sustainable finance can help tackle pressing environmental, social, economic and governance challenges, and must grow rapidly to meet our climate targets. However a lack of common definitions and varying industry practices are holding back the international spread of sustainable finance, and undermining consumer confidence in sustainable products.

BSI’s new standards programme, which includes the development of fast-track Publically Available Specifications (PASs) as well as work with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), bridges the sustainability, governance and financial services communities to create impactful, holistic standards. It also aims to establish the UK’s leadership in sustainable finance as part of the move to a low carbon economy.

Coinciding with BEIS’ publication of the UK Green Finance Strategy, the programme has reached an important stage this month as public consultation opens on its first deliverable – PAS 7340 – which provides a framework for understanding, evaluating and embedding sustainable finance within organizations.

Scott Steedman, Director of Standards at BSI said: “We have been working with government and industry to respond to the challenges around sustainable finance highlighted by the financial services community. In our discussions with key stakeholders, we established globally that the sector has been struggling to align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, that everyone is engaging with sustainable finance differently, and that there are no overarching best practice standards to learn from or to help scale up good work.

Through the development of internationally applicable standards, led by the future users of these standards, we will help to streamline and promote the wider uptake of sustainable finance, while providing transparency and confidence to consumers. We invite interested parties to respond to the public consultation on PAS 7340 to ensure this first document accurately and robustly reflects the views of industry, regulators and society.”

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Chris Skidmore said: "As the first major economy to legislate to reach net zero emissions by 2050, green finance can play a crucial role in our mission to protect the planet while growing the economy.

"Through today's plans and by putting clean growth at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy, we'll continue to work with our leading financial services sector to drive even more ambitious action, showing the rest of the world that responsible business can be a win-win for the economy and the environment."

Peter Young, Chair of the Green Purposes Company and Chair of the Sustainable Finance Strategic Advisory Group, says: “Significant UK players have been leading the way in the developing field of sustainable finance, and this standardization programme builds on their experience, using it to define best practice. The aim is to make sustainable finance more accessible and applicable for everyone working in the sector, ultimately unlocking the positive impact that it can generate globally.”

 

- Ends -

 

Notes to editors:

To find out more about the sustainable finance standardization programme, and the organizations involved, please visit: https://pages.bsigroup.com/sustainablefinance

Strategic Advisory Group Membership

Aldersgate Group

Aviva Investors

Barclays

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

CFA Society of the UK

City Hive

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

E3G

FTSE Russel/LSE

Green Finance Institute

Green Investment Group

Green Purposes Company

HSBC Global Asset Management

Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA)

Investment Association

Oxford University Smith School

The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF)

UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)