The Green Horizon Summit – The Pivotal Role of Finance took place at Mansion House, as a virtual event from 9 – 11 November 2020, the original dates for the postponed United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which will now take place in Glasgow in November 2021.

The Green Horizon Summit was hosted by the City of London Corporation, in collaboration with the Green Finance Institute, and supported by the World Economic Forum. It focused on the role of green finance in the recovery from COVID-19. So, between 9th and 11th November, I ‘dipped in and out’ of the Green Horizon Summit when my diary permitted.

With a keynote address from Mark Carney, the summit concentrated on the role of financial services in supporting a green recovery and an economy-wide transition to net zero. It also explored how capital can be mobilised at the pace and scale needed to meet not only the UK’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 but also international climate commitments.

William Russell, Lord Mayor, City of London, said:
“COP26 may have been postponed, but the momentum towards a green future has anything but slowed. I hope this hugely important event in November will see the global financial community come together to collectively play its part in the fight against climate change.”

Catherine McGuiness, Policy Chair, City of London Corporation, said:
“The UK is leading the fight against the global climate emergency having been the first major economy to commit to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Green Horizon Summit will go some way to helping us achieve this, exploring how we can mobilise capital at pace and scale to fuel a green recovery from COVID-19, and the domestic and global transition to a net-zero future.”

Dr Rian-Mari Thomas, Chief Executive, Green Finance Institute, said:
“The Green Horizon Summit will provide an important opportunity to showcase green finance innovation and progress. We will convene both public and private sector actors to discuss how we maintain a high-level of ambition and action across the financial community in the year leading to COP26 in Glasgow.”

Prof Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, said:
“The Green Horizon Summit will be a key milestone en route to Glasgow COP26. It will bring together leaders of finance, business, government and civil society from around the world for a progress check on green finance for the Great Reset; and to showcase innovate finance solutions to accelerate industry’s net-zero transition and for the nature-based solutions.”

It’s time to reset the relationship between finance and the real economy. It’s time for public and private finance to get behind the transition to a sustainable and resilient future for all – architects can help deliver this in a the way building projects are commissioned, designed, procured, constructed and occupied.

The green transition is both an urgent existential imperative, as well as a significant commercial opportunity. Capturing this opportunity will drive job creation and speed the return to growth. But for now, there is a persistent financing gap between net zero ambitions and reality. The Green Horizon Summit helped to close this gap, with a key objective being to mobilise capital by converting momentum into action ahead of COP26.

The Summit covered five major themes:

  • Reporting, Risk Management and Return
  • Financing the Energy Transition
  • Infrastructure and Green Growth
  • Financing Resilience and Adaptation
  • Nature and Net Zero

The Summit concluded with a focus on the concrete actions and commitments financial firms need to make ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

The Green Horizon Summit was delivered in a hybrid format with some content live streamed from a recording studio in London. Attendees participated through an online platform to allow for virtual engagement and were offered to an array of presentations from internationally renowned speakers. It was a privilege to attend.

Featured speakers included:

Michael R. Bloomberg
Founder, Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies

Christiana Figueres
Founder, Global Optimism

Larry Fink
Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, Inc

Kristalina Georgieva
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

Antonio Guterres
The ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations

Christine Lagarde
President of the European Central Bank