The power of the UK’s financial sector must be harnessed if the UK is to meet its domestic net zero targets by mid-century. As a global finance hub and host of COP26, the UK government must seize the opportunity for green finance leadership by mandating the disclosure of transition plans within TCFD for all large companies across the economy.
This Parliamentary Briefing was written in collaboration with Business and civil society organisations, and makes the case for mandatory transition plan disclosure together with supporting guidance from regulators. It then sets out key recommendations for MPs.
Given the size and clout of the UK’s financial sector, creating a net zero finance system will arguably be the most significant step the UK can take in tackling climate change. Failure to support a managed transition to net-zero poses risks such as rapid divestment, stranded assets or greenwash.
The appetite for net zero from private finance is also growing. A recent letter from leading UK financial institutions, responsible for over $5 trillion in assets, called on the Prime Minister to develop a net zero financial system. Many major UK financial institutions and banks are also making voluntary commitments to net zero, and over $70 Trillion AUM has been committed to net zero under the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).
However, government action is needed to support net zero commitments with integrity. Mandating the disclosure of transition plans within the rollout of TCFD is therefore the inevitable next step.
The Government has already taken important steps forward in support of transition plans:
- The Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green recovery, states an ambition to ‘make the City of London the global centre of green finance’. Finance is also a central priority of the UK’s COP26 strategy.
- The recent G7 communique highlighting the role of finance ministers in driving forward the transition of their economies and financial systems to net zero and announcing their support for TCFD.
- Net zero commitments and transition plans are now required from companies bidding for government procurement contracts over £5 million.
However, the UK government must move faster if the City of London is to succeed as a global green finance hub – and attract the growing global potential of green finance.
This briefing makes the following recommendations for MPs:
- Help raise awareness and the political salience of the transition plans agenda as a potential “win” for COP26, net zero, and UK green finance leadership
- Support an announcement at COP26 of the introduction of mandatory disclosures of net zero transition plans, for aligning with 1.5°C, as part of required TCFD disclosures for all large UK companies. This should be backed by:
- Clarity on the rollout timeline though to 2025 that is consistent with the TCFD roadmap.
- Initial statements on guidance from HMT and regulators on the formulation of transition plans.