Sunak to force UK finance firms and large businesses to publish net zero plans

2 November 2021, 22:30 | Updated: 10 November 2021, 15:17

Rishi Sunak will reveal net zero economic schemes at COP26 on Wednesday
Rishi Sunak will reveal net zero economic schemes at COP26 on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

By James Morris

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will force UK financial institutions to publish plans on how they will achieve net zero emissions.

Mr Sunak will reveal the scheme in a speech on Wednesday in which he will set out ambitions to make the UK a “net zero financial centre”.

Each plan will have to include high-level targets to reduce greenhouse emissions, and the steps and milestones companies plan to take to get there ahead of 2050.

This is the year the UK – as hosts of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow – is lobbying countries to commit to reaching net zero emissions.

However, the government will take no action against financial institutions and listed companies if they publish inadequate plans.

Although the plans themselves will need to be published from 2023, the government will leave it up to the market to determine if the transition plans are adequate or credible.

They will be held against a “gold standard” of rules drawn up by industry and academic leaders, regulators and civil society groups.

Read more: 'We've pulled two goals back in the fight against climate change': PM hails Cop26 talks

Speaking at the climate change conference, Mr Sunak is also set to announce that 450 institutions which control 40% of global financial assets have aligned themselves to an agreement to limit global warming.

The firms, from 45 countries, control £95 trillion in assets. They will align their climate goals to the Paris Agreement, including the target of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.