Climate leadership 2019

Leadership may take a number of forms. It can be seen in new or purpose led enterprise that is providing innovative solutions. But it can also be seen in large, carbon-intensive companies making clear commitments and putting in place plans and targets to support the transition path to low-carbon business. Together, these examples can accelerate the response by sectors to climate change and provide solutions to enable the transition. There was no separate entry process for this award – the judges were looking for evidence of climate leadership within the entries to the other categories. This is consistent with the need for the response to climate change to be embedded within business as usual within the finance and accounting professions.

The following examples of climate leadership were recognised at the 2019 awards ceremony:


Climate Change & Finance at Imperial College Business School, (UK)

  Imperial College Business School empowers finance professionals with the knowledge to take action on climate change. It aims to fill the knowledge gap about the business case for a global zero-carbon transition. Their education programmes are relevant, timely and accessible, specifically targeted to a financial audience, defining and quantifying investment risks and opportunities. Imperial’s leadership is clearly contributing towards a critical mass of multi-disciplinary, climate-informed finance professionals. 

Ecology Building Society, (UK)

  Ecology Building Society identified that a large part of the UK’s carbon emissions are down to aging housing stock, and it has implemented new products to incentivise people to make their homes energy-efficient. It has used its position as an industry leader to influence UK and European regulation via the Energy Efficient Mortgages pilot scheme. 

SSE plc, (UK and Republic of Ireland) 

  As an energy company, SSE recognises the role this sector must play in decarbonising the economy. Its core purpose reflects this, and it has a stated goal to ‘find and deliver profitable solutions to the problem of climate change’. The company has clear plans for net zero by 2050 and has aligned its strategy to 1.5 degrees. They’ve linked ambitious carbon reduction targets to executive remuneration and to their financing, and some of the initial targets have been met already, ahead of plan.

Stora Enso, (Finland) 

  Stora Enso’s purpose is “Do good for people and the planet. Replace non-renewable materials with renewable products.” With a strategy aligned to achieving a 1.5 degree pathway, low carbon is embedded in the decision-making of every part of Stora Enso. Forest products is an energy intensive sector, and Stora Enso has made significant savings through efficient operations and a focus on removing emissions from production. It reports scope 1,2 and 3 emissions, and obtains reasonable assurance over scopes 1 and 2.  It places considerable emphasis on forest management, planting and carbon capture and is financing with green bonds and a revolving credit facility linked to emissions.