Changing Finance: new this month

A new monthly round-up of news, ideas and initiatives related to transforming the UK financial system for people and planet, compiled by the Lab’s CEO Jesse Griffiths.

Climate and environment

Most bank lending is in climate-exposed sectors. Here are the banks financing biodiversity loss, and 935 coal-linked companies for investors to avoid. Barclays increases fossil fuel financing despite net zero pledge. Climate activists take aim at ‘Sharklays’ and HSBC. Norwegian banks brought to task for funding deforestation in Brazil.

Pension funds lose billions on oil investments. Australian courts force pension fund to adopt net zero target. Tell your pension provider to stop financing climate change.

The first global standard to measure financed emissions – PCAF – launched. How can central banks reduce climate risk for low-income communities?

Whither financial integrity in Europe?

Anger over EU making world’s biggest fossil fuel financier, Blackrock, its sustainability advisor. EU ombudsman rules it must strengthen its conflicts of interest policy and stop ‘revolving doors‘ between finance regulators and industry lobbyists. The EU sets up a new anti-money laundering body. Anti-corruption group calls for action against EY.

The Digital revolution

A global fintech regulation update – and the lid is lifted on the real systemic impacts of Fintech. Experian’s dodgy data sharing. How AI is reshaping finance.

Human rights and wrongs

New research suggests Equator banks are failing on community consultation and grievance mechanisms. The EIB taken to task on human rights. These American banks are enabling abuse of indigenous peoples’ rights in the Amazon.

Inequality

More evidence of rising debt inequality  and soaring problem debt, and skyrocketing poverty in the UK. Here are some solutions. A big part of the poverty premium is insurance and credit costs.

The need for racial financial justice. How black bankers are excluded from the industry. The City of London launches a taskforce on class diversity in finance.

Coronavirus crisis

COVID-19 causes gap between rich and poor to grow. 2.5 million UK households face rent worries and 350,000 are at risk of eviction. An alternative: community wealth-building after COVID-19.

Cash is not a major coronavirus spreader. COVID-19 recovery plans finance fossil fuels worldwide.

The economy, stupid

How central banks have calmed the markets. But troubles are brewing – Nationwide doubles provisions for bad loans, Europe gets ready for a surge of insolvencies.

A pandemic-induced scramble for cash by big companies.

Why we shouldn’t worry about public debt and why the government ‘has not maxed out the credit card’. ECB head confirms the existence of the magic money tree.

Cross-party MPs call for break up of high street banks.

International

A global debt tsunami is coming. IMF chief economist tells governments to open the spending taps. Economists slam IMF and World Bank pandemic responseG20 leaders met in the desert. The colonial roots of developing country debt crises.

UK Policy changes

The Government sets out its plans for financial services and is criticised for lacking ambition. The Opposition sets out their vision for a green recovery plan.

Climate disclosure will be  mandatory in 2025 but much earlier for premium listed companies. Will investors care?

UK becomes first issuer of green gilts – should they be green Plus gilts?

The UK taxonomy of green investments should go further. The EU taxonomy has holes.

The Financial Services Bill passed its second reading (Lab briefing) and is in committee (Lab submission).

The Bank of England governor’s climate plan – what the Bank of England should really do to decarbonise the economy.

A new UK national infrastructure bank promised, after having sold off the successful Green Investment Bank in 2017.

And finally

The myth of barter.  Is the economics profession able to deal with crises? A nice sustainable financial system map. The radical implications of central bank digital currencies. Why slashing aid is a disastrous foreign policy idea (as well as being immoral).


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