Progress report

Global leaders in Edinburgh for COP26 update

Alok Sharma
Return to Scotland: Alok Sharma

Leaders from the world’s largest financial institutions will gather in Scotland next week to discuss progress on the climate change objectives laid down at last year’s COP26 summit.

The World Bank, the Bank of England, and international finance and investment firms will attend the summit in Edinburgh.

Delegates are due to attend events organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) over three days from Monday, 5 September, with the main summit on 6 September at the NatWest (RBS) conference centre at Gogarburn.

It takes place ahead of the anniversary of COP26 in Glasgow, and will focus on the vital role played by finance in the climate goals.

As well as addressing global challenges, including conflicts and the economic slowdown, the summit will also promote Edinburgh to the world as the best place to base environment, social and governance (ESG) operations.

Speakers include COP26 president Alok Sharma and the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Michael Matheson.

Michael Matheson and ChargePlace
Michael Matheson: journey to net zero

Partners include NatWest Group, the Scottish Government, the University of Edinburgh, abrdn, Aegon Asset Management and Space Intelligence.

Mr Matheson said: “Our journey to becoming a net zero nation by 2045 holds fantastic opportunities, including for our globally competitive financial services industry.

“We are committed to building the long-term relationships with investors who share our values, regulators and the financial services industry to seize them.

“This summit and the next meeting of the Green and Sustainable Financial Services taskforce is clear evidence of Scotland’s resolve to build a green finance hub and our shared commitment to deliver on the promise of Glasgow’s COP26.”

Omar Shaikh, managing director of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said: “The world is convening in Scotland once again to address our greatest collective challenges, including the climate emergency facing our planet.

“We all depend on global finance making the right choices to deliver positive change and achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals.

“At this vital summit in Edinburgh, we will hear from renowned experts on sustainable and responsible finance around the world, including the role of finance in protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity.

“This is also an extraordinary opportunity to showcase Edinburgh as a prime location to base ESG operations – not only because of our financial heritage, but because of the culture of inquiry in the city today that can help shape our global future.”

Anshula Kant, managing director of the World Bank, will tell delegates to the summit: “Gatherings like this remind us that we are focused on shared goals that are at the heart of sustainable development goals – tackling the climate crisis, meeting urgent development needs of the vulnerable living in poverty, and aiming for peace and prosperity.


“Achieving these goals has become even more challenging given the overlapping global crises, the economic slowdown, rising inflation, deepening food insecurity, fragility and conflict, and rising geopolitical tensions.”

Judith Cruickshank, MD Commercial Mid Market, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “As the one year anniversary of COP26 approaches, it is particularly meaningful that we are hosting this critical conference at our Edinburgh headquarters.

“We believe this to be the largest gathering of sustainable finance experts since the Glasgow summit.

“This gathering will energise and inspire our global leaders as we reflect on the challenges facing the world, and set out our proposed actions in response.

“Tackling the climate emergency is this generation’s defining mission, to protect and preserve the natural world for the benefit of those who come after us.

“This forum will ensure that we keep building the momentum necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

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