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London Hosts the Launch of the World’s First Just Transition Finance Lab



London Hosts the Launch of the World's First Just Transition Finance Lab

Today, February 20, marks the launch of the world’s first financial research and advocacy hub, which aims to integrate just transition principles into the global economic system during the net-zero transition. The hub is located in the UK.

The Just Transition Finance Hub, housed at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), aims to make sure that financial institutions take social factors into account when deciding how to finance the energy transition and the broader move toward net zero.

Teams at the hub will create financial tools, metrics, and strategies that both public and private sector financiers can use in the real world.

As per Net-Zero Tracker, national and/or regional governments have set net-zero targets that account for over 90% of the global GDP at present. To enable the delivery of unparalleled decarbonization, policymakers are working more closely with financial institutions. The new Hub will promote this as a chance to also address social inequalities.

According to Professor Nick Robins, “The vast majority of financing decisions for climate action do not explicitly consider the social opportunities, social risks, or social dialogue needed to ensure success. If this is not remedied, the world could miss out on the huge potential for social advancement in terms of more and better jobs, gender equality, community renewal, and universal access to key goods and services such as energy.

“A failure to achieve the just transition could also result in negative consequences for some workers, communities, enterprises, and consumers, undermining trust and setting back progress on climate action.”

In the face of the spread of false information and misinformation that has fueled social polarization, participants in the World Economic Forum’s recent annual summit in Davos aimed to “rebuild trust.”

LSE colleagues Robins and others have cautioned that gradual adjustments to the global financial system will not be enough to meet the goals of nature and climate change, much less do so in a fair way.

They are urging financiers to adopt new approaches to capital allocation and to price in just transition requirements. They admit that for this to occur on a large scale, policymakers need to change to support new procedures that are voluntary and consider mandates as well.

The concept of incorporating just transition principles into all bonds designated as green, social, sustainable, and sustainability-linked (GSS+) is put forth in the team’s preliminary report. With over $3.7 trillion worth of these bonds issued so far, the market is poised for more rapid expansion. The Hub team does not want this expansion to lead to social sustainability taking a step backward rather than forward in terms of climate change.

It states that “there is a growing market interest in the potential for these bonds to support a just transition, and integrating just transition into bond issuance can maximize the social co-benefits of green investments, ensure the transition does not exacerbate existing inequalities, and enable greater climate ambition.”

S&P just published updated forecasts last week, indicating that this year’s GSS+ bond issuances could surpass $1 trillion, a first for the market. It projects issuances of $1.05 trillion this year, compared to $0.95 trillion in 2023.

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