Nov. 4 2021

  • Bureau Veritas - supports Government’s green finance plans, saying they will ‘bring positive change to the economy’
  • Leading sustainable authority reminds all UK businesses - irrespective of size - that they all will be impacted by green finance

Leading sustainability authority, Bureau Veritas, has described the Government’s sustainable financing pledges at COP26 as an ‘important step in shaping a world of trust’ when it comes to making sustainable investments.

Yesterday (Wednesday, November 3 2021) saw global leaders gather at COP26 to discuss mobilising public and private finance flows at scale for mitigation and adaption. Key commitments to have come out of day three of COP26 include confirmation that the Government is drawing up plans for a ‘verification scheme’ for large businesses to publish its net-zero transition plans, which will safeguard against greenwashing.

This means that most of the UK’s largest firms and financial institutions will be required to show how they intend to hit climate change targets, in line with the UK’s net-zero ambitions. The aim of these plans is to increase transparency and accountability within UK businesses so that the investments they select consider the planet and societal impact. It paves the way to accelerate responsible change and standardise the disclosure, reporting and assurance of sustainability metrics.

The announcement of the plans follows a number of recent announcements intended to make the UK the best place in the world for sustainable investing. This includes a new Sustainability Disclosures Regime; a roadmap that demonstrates the UK’s continuing leadership in moving towards a Net Zero economy, underpinned by green finance and in line with the Climate-Related Financial Disclosures recommendations. It will ensure credible information exists to enable financial decisions to be made which factor in climate change, environment and social considerations such as modern slavery, gender diversity and health and wellbeing. This links to the recent introduction of mandatory legislation for over 1,300 of the largest UK-registered companies to disclose climate-related financial information – making the UK the first G20 country to do this.

Julie-Anna Smith, South & West Europe Sustainability Services Leader at Bureau Veritas, said: “The Government’s commitments to sustainable and green financing are a really important step in shaping a world of trust and accelerating the transition to clean technologies Quite simply, it will bring positive change to the economy. It will encourage decision-making to balance short term and long-term factors and encourage investment away from fossil fuels to green infrastructure projects, which utilise new, green technologies.

“With plans to make the financial system here in the UK the greenest in the world, the Government is encouraging businesses to really put climate change at the heart of their decision making. By introducing mandatory legislation, the requirements not only tackle greenwashing – alongside the new Green Claims Code – but also encourage some of the UK’s largest businesses to align their plans with our collective net-zero ambitions.”

The new requirements are set to help investors and businesses better understand the financial impacts of their exposure to climate change and price climate-related risks more accurately, while supporting the greening of the UK economy.

Julie-Anna continued: “Whilst the new verification scheme and mandatory legislation currently applies to the UK’s largest firms and financial institutions, this is something that will affect all UK businesses in their supply and value chain – regardless of size or sector. With companies being required to outline how, where, and through what means they source products and components, for example, there will be a need for all businesses to comply with the proposed measures.

“With new legislation and regulation always comes change – and it can be difficult to understand the new processes and requirements needed to meet stringent new rules and to harness opportunities from the UK’s transition to net-zero. When it comes to addressing sustainable assurance, the involvement of independent assurance providers, such as Bureau Veritas, in the verification process can provide an additional layer of control to ensure trust, transparency and validity of claims.

“This is crucial for those businesses looking to seek practical support and advice to meet the future requirements head on, irrespective of size and scale.”

Bureau Veritas works with organisations to meet increased sustainability expectations. This includes providing independent Sustainability Report Assurance, to provide confidence that reported information is accurate and free of bias; Carbon Management Strategies, to provide a reliable baseline for strategic decision making; and Green Bond Verification, to verify the authenticity and issue an assurance statement in-line with the Climate Bonds Initiative.

Bureau Veritas has also produced a free, downloadable webinar entitled ‘Shaping Sustainability in Government Contracts, which addresses critical changes in PPN 06/21, focused on the achievement of net-zero via carbon reduction plans, using a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures.