Oxford Uni to pioneer £10m research centre to spur greener global financial system

UK Centre for Greening Finance & Investment

The government has announced £10 million in backing to create a new Oxford University-led research centre to advise lenders, investors and insurers, enabling them to make better decisions to support a greener global economy.

With funding from the National Environment Research Council (NERC) and Innovate UK, both part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the new UK Centre for Greening Finance & Investment (CGFI) will be led by Dr Ben Caldecott, the founder of Oxford’s Sustainable Finance Programme.

The centre will help financial institutions shift money away from risky activities which harm the environment, such as coal-fired power and deforestation, and towards activities that are less harmful, such as renewable power and sustainable agriculture.

Dr Caldecott said: “Climate and environmental risks to our economy and society are accelerating. The ultimate vision of the CGFI is for financial institutions to be able to access and use climate and environmental data and analytics for any point on planet earth historically, in the present, and projected into the future – allowing the greening of finance and the financing of green.”

Professor Dame Sarah Whatmore, head of social sciences at Oxford added: “This investment is a ringing endorsement of the breadth and depth of expertise within the University of Oxford and our partner institutions. We are delighted to be at the forefront of such an important step towards a greener financial system, which will pave the way for more sustainable investment globally and help achieve the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The UK’s position as a world leader in sustainable finance will be underlined by the centre’s data and analytics and will draw on wide-ranging expertise from across Oxford as well as partner institutions, including the Universities of Bristol, Leeds, Reading and Imperial College, 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.

Sustainable finance is rapidly gaining traction as a crucial component of global efforts to address climate change and help the transition to a net zero future. The CGFI announcement follows a significant new partnership between Oxford University and Lombard Odier on sustainable finance and investment, which also established Dr Caldecott’s post as the first endowed professorship of sustainable finance at any major global research university.

New physical hubs in Leeds and London will support companies and start-ups commercialise and export 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. CGFI will also 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.