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The new 10 million initiative will emerge as Imperial Housing, a hub supporting the commercialization of products aimed at green global finance.

The UK government is investing £10 million in a new National Center for Green Finance Research that can advise lenders, investors and insurance companies to make environmentally sustainable decisions and support a green world economy.

Imperial College London will house one of two new physical hubs to help businesses and startups commercialize their products and services to transform global finance. Examples include tools to measure storm and flood risk and data to track pollution generated by businesses.

The UK Green Financial Investment Center (CGFI) has been awarded £10 million from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The new center, led by Oxford University with support from Imperial College London and six other institutions, aims to ensure that data and analysis on climate and environmental impacts will be at the heart of global finance.

The real London hub is hosted by Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute-Climate Change and Environment and Imperial College Business School’s Center for Climate Finance and Investment. As part of a new partnership to bring Imperial’s expertise closer to the investment community in London, we will be working at the Royal Institute of England (Ri).

CGFI partners with data providers including the Met Office and World Bank to generate scientifically robust global climate and environmental data for past, present and future across all industry sectors. By doing so, it will open up opportunities for the UK to lead internationally in green finance. CGFI relies on a network of experts in climate, environmental science, computing, engineering, finance, business and innovation.

Professor Ralf Toumi, Co-Director of Grantham Institute-Climate Change and Environment, said: “The financial sector is very important to enabling a green future. However, there is a desperate need for information on global climate and environmental risks.

“We are excited to bring our scientific expertise in extreme weather, for example, to this new center. Imperial will provide the London Innovation Hub, which will house entrepreneurs who will develop risk data and tools for the sector.”

Imperial’s role

Imperial will contribute to CGFI through its Masters in Climate Change, Management and Finance, which will educate future business leaders on how climate action demands change in finance, management and investment. Launched in 2016, the program is jointly run by Imperial College Business School and Grantham Institute.

“Climate finance is essential to meeting the Paris Agreement climate goals.” Josue Tanaka Senior Fellow Emeritus Climate Finance, Grantham Institute

Dr. Charles Donovan, executive director of the Imperial Climate Finance and Investment Center and a working professor at the Department of Finance, will be a key figure in the new initiative, along with Professor Ralf Toumi and Professor Martin Siegert, co-directors of the Grantham Institute.

Dr Donovan said: “Our Masters in Climate Change, Management and Finance provides business students with climate understanding and business skills to climate science students. What really makes a difference is the combination of knowledge and skill. And soon the investment community will not be able to respond in time to the climate crisis unless a new approach is adopted.”

“Nothing can be done to pursue a net zero future without finance,” said Josue Tanaka, a former international development banker, the imperial’s newly appointed Climate Finance Senior Fellow. “Climate finance is essential to meeting the Paris Agreement climate goals,” he said. We’re talking trillions of dollars per year in a short amount of time because we haven’t been 10 years old to change the emission curve. “

Michael de Crespigny, Royal Institution’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are excited to support CGFI through the Royal Institution’s Innovation Hub. Focusing financial investments on activities that reduce our impact on the planet is a fundamental step, and a step that has the potential to make a big difference in tackling climate change.

“The Royal Institution is an independent charity that inspires everyone to think deeper about science and its place in our lives.”

CGFI has built Imperial’s reputation for green finance research through the work of Imperial College Business School’s Climate Finance and Investment Center. The center aims to address the challenges and opportunities that climate change poses for businesses to help them transition to a low carbon future.

Recent initiatives include the launch of a new research hub dedicated to green finance and talent development in Singapore and the EdX course to help executives working in financial markets understand the financial risks and opportunities posed by climate change.

CGFI is set up to enable financial institutions to access scientifically robust data and analytics to inform risk-based decisions to increase the resilience of future investments. We work with key financial decision makers such as Chartered Bankers Institute and Chartered Financial Analysts UK to ensure that all financial decisions take into account climate change. We will support companies and startups with products that enable green global finance. This includes tools to measure the storm and flood risk facing real estate and the pollution created by businesses and subsequent debt.

The UK is accelerating green finance through its Green Finance Task Force and Green Finance Strategy, as well as the chair of the UN COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in November. CGFI will deliver on its promises in the UK Government’s Green Finance Strategy for 2019.

In addition to the London hub, the new CGFI will have a hub at the University of Leeds. The University of Bristol and the University of Reading, the Alan Turing Institute, the Satellite Applications Catapult, and the Scientific and Technical Facilities Commission are also collaborating on this initiative.

Funding for the CGFI was allocated through the Climate and Environmental Risks Program for Resilient Finance launched by the Natural Environment Research Council (NRC) and Innovate UK in February 2020.

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