Business world ‘to be transformed by net-zero transition’

EVERY company and every industry will be ‘transformed by the transition to net zero’, delegates heard at the third and final core day of 2022 Guernsey Sustainable Finance Week, which focused on carbon markets and pricing.

The Sustainable Finance Week art exhibition hosted by Guernsey Finance and Art for Guernsey at the Royal 
Court. (Picture by Chris George Photography)
The Sustainable Finance Week art exhibition hosted by Guernsey Finance and Art for Guernsey at the Royal Court. (Picture by Chris George Photography)

Keynote speaker James Close, head of climate change at NatWest Group, said that ‘every aspect will change’ but it would be for the benefit of the planet.

He added that there was integrity for companies in underpinning carbon credits by reducing emissions, rather than purely offsetting the carbon that businesses produce.

‘We need to anchor what we are doing in integrity,’ he said. ‘We need to bridge the social cost of carbon with the market price of carbon.

‘We have to do our decarbonisation first, then decide how to deal with residual emissions. The only way we can do that is through carbon offsets. There has previously been a lack of robust regulation, which is now being addressed.’

The theme resonated through panel sessions, including discussion on how to build an effective carbon market.

‘We aren’t going to hit net zero if everyone just buys credits. There has to be a residual balance,’ said Richard Kelly, co-founder and co-lead fund manager at Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company.

Marija Rompani, director of ethics and sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, said: ‘There is a fine line between really trying to mitigate and reduce your carbon emissions and actually buying yourself out of it, which can be compared to greenwashing.’

They agreed that the financial benefits of the sale of carbon credits make the whole project viable.

‘For anyone purchasing, then retiring voluntary carbon credits, you can immediately count that towards your net-zero targets. You are making a direct contribution to the fight against climate change,’ Mr Kelly said.

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