Lord Mayor warns climate change is bigger threat than Covid-19

The 692nd Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, will call on the financial and professional services sector to take urgent action to tackle climate change and ensure sustainability is at the heart of every financial decision at the Annual Lord Mayor Gresham Lecture on Monday (1 February).

The lecture, entitled Building Back Better – The City’s Role in a Green-Led Economic Recovery’ will feature a panel of experts, including Mark Carney, the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and former Governor of the Bank of England, Rhian-Mari Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at the Green Finance Institute and Liv Garfield, Chief Executive Officer at Severn Trent.

An extract from the Lord Mayor’s speech is found below. Please check against delivery.

“Covid-19 has affected our lives more than anything else in modern memory. With the recent levels of UK fatalities at almost three times greater than those sustained during the Blitz.

“It is with that in mind that I tell you that climate change is a much greater and long-term threat to life – to our whole world – than Covid-19. Every person, every business and every country, has a role to play in overcoming that threat.

“When we think of industries that will make the biggest sustainable difference, we normally think of the automotive or energy sectors. Very rarely do we think of the financial and professional services, like banking and accounting. But it is this sector that will be the lynchpin for all other sectors – indeed, the whole world – to turn green.

It means that, as soon as we take in to account the risk of climate change, then we must rethink how we value goods, services, companies and entire industries.

Can we continue to value and fund practices and companies that destroy the planet, pollute waters and endanger our vital ecosystem? We cannot. Climate change must be at the heart of every financial decision we make.

The businesses that put environmental resilience at their core will be highly valued and desirable. So, what was once a risk is now the business opportunity of the century, creating thousands of jobs and profits.

And, in short, money talks, and what it’s saying is “go green or go home”.

“We have yet to reach a future in which every financial decision takes climate change and other sustainable factors into account. A future where everyone is focusing on building back better or a future in which green finance is simply called Finance.

“Our window to act is finite and closing quickly.”

To register for the event click here.


Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk