Councillor Richard Bell, Glasgow

City Treasurer and Chair of Strathclyde Pension Fund

In general, we want to see commitments and action which helps increase mitigation and adaptation flows into cities, from both public and private sources. Given the acceleration of climate impacts, we need to now put an equal focus on mitigation and adaptation. Mobilising private sector finance into mitigation has to be a priority, both to allow accelerated action on mitigation, but also to free up public sector balance sheets to increase spends on adaptation where they are more public goods. I’d also like to see more cities investing in building their capacity to assemble projects for financing. There is significant capital out there but cities are still not managing to assemble them in a way which fits the needs of private finance. That has to change, and rapidly and requires cities to invest in their staff, skills and capabilities.

There’s a lot of exciting action taking place in Glasgow right now.

Our Glasgow Green Deal is the umbrella initiative for how we bridge the gap between our 2030 net zero carbon and climate resilience targets and delivery, and has a strong focus on economics and finance. It commits to aligning financial flows of the city Council and the wider City with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Within it, we have launched a ‘Greenprint’, seeking £30bn of inward investment into projects in line with our net zero and climate resilience targets.

The Strathclyde Pension fund, which has £26bn of assets under management for the benefit of 170 different employers and 250,000 members is implementing a new approach to managing its portfolio in a way which is Paris Aligned. Similar to the New York and San-Francisco approaches, we are working through our individual investments and traffic-lighting them to help guide our approach to investment over the coming years. In some cases we will want to invest more, some we will want to enter into shareholder discussions, and others where we will want to withdraw,

What’s more, the Glasgow Credit Union is looking to mobilise it’s £200m of savings in service of net zero, including developing a savings product which allows savers to forgo interest payments, instead allowing them to be directed to City projects. Secondly, they have been working with Scottish Government to develop new energy efficiency loans and green mortgages to overcome financial barriers to housing retrofit.

Whilst we’re doing good work, it’s still not at the right pace and scale. I hope that by joining the network we gain access to an ambitious peer group which can support and challenge each other together on the shared journey of unlocking the global finance for city climate action.

I also hope we gain strategic insights and learn lessons from the global community that can be used and leveraged here in Glasgow to accelerate the work that is underway.

 

I hope that through my participation, Glasgow can make a substantial contribution to solving one of the world’s most pressing challenges. We expect to bring a number of things to the network. Firstly, we will bring our learning and experiences from the climate finance initiatives we are developing and implementing and share them freely to help the benefit of others.

The City has also developed a global platform as a result of being the host city for COP26, and so we bring a strong network of connections to global organisations through which we can advocate and disseminate the work of the Alliance.

Finally, we will bring commitment, enthusiasm, and staff resource to help drive the work of wider network, raising awareness and engagement from all actors across the climate finance value chain.