Aligning Finance with the Transition to Net Zero

Hear from the head of the Green Finance Institute as we explore how finance is changing to meet the needs of transitioning economies

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In this latest installment of the Climate Risk Podcast, we explore two key concepts in the transition to net zero: greening finance and financing green.

One interesting finding from GARP’s 2020 Climate Risk Survey was that over the next five years financial firms expect climate-related opportunities to have a bigger impact on their strategies than climate-related risks. Thus, navigating the impacts of climate change also means remaining alert for new opportunities.

That’s why in today’s episode we are speaking with the head of an organization that is actively working to bring together coalitions of global experts to identify and unlock barriers to impactful green investment.

Dr. Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, CEO of the Green Finance Institute, works at the intersection of policymaking and finance, and during this conversation we will be exploring some of the current leading efforts to align financial flows with the need to transition to a net-zero economy.

Today’s episode covers:

  • The distinction between greening finance and financing green
  • How we can navigate barriers to green finance
  • Embedding climate and sustainability in professional education
  • A look ahead to COP26

If you have any questions, thoughts or feedback regarding this podcast series, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at:

*Please note that between the time of recording and the release of this episode, two potential green finance initiatives discussed towards the end of the interview have now been formally announced. The first is that on the 9th of November 2020, the UK Government announced that the first UK sovereign green bonds will be issued during 2021. The second was the Government’s announcement that a UK Infrastructure Bank will be established to aid the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to a net-zero economy by 2050.

Links from today’s discussion:

GFI Report – Accelerating green finance: Green Finance Taskforce report

GFI Report – Financing energy-efficient buildings: the path to retrofit at scale

Ceres Report – Financing a Net-Zero Economy: Measuring and Addressing Climate Risk for Banks

GARP Survey – Second Annual Global Survey of Climate Risk Management at Financial Firms



Dr. Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE – Chief Executive Officer at Green Finance Institute

Rhian-Mari began her banking career at Barclays Investment Bank in 2000, spending 10 years in leveraged finance and financial sponsors coverage before holding a succession of leadership roles across Barclays Corporate Bank and Barclaycard.

Rhian-Mari’s time at Barclays culminated in the role of Global Head of Green Banking, during which time she was responsible for founding and chairing the Barclays Green Banking Council, a body that developed and launched Barclays’ suite of green finance products and services.

In 2019, Rhian-Mari was awarded an OBE for services to green banking and was appointed chief executive of the Green Finance Institute.

In addition to this role, Rhian-Mari is an Emeritus Member of the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), a commissioner for the Commission for Carbon Charging and an Advisor to the UK Government’s Climate Finance Accelerator programme.

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