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Sustainable finance: Taskforce or talking shop?

It has the backing of Prince Charles, as well as several big names in banking – but will the Financial Services Taskforce contribute anything new to the fight against climate change?

Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker ESG 1920px.jpg

In 1965, the satirist and songwriter Tom Lehrer said of protest songs: “It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee house or a college auditorium and come out in favour of the things that everybody else in the audience is against, like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on.”

Euromoney was reminded of his words this week, when yet another press release promoting the launch of yet another sustainability initiative for the financial industry landed in our inbox.

These are arriving at the rate of about two a week – or at least, that’s how it sometimes feels. But a couple of things made this one stand out from the crowd.

Firstly, as was made clear from the outset, this one carries the imprimatur of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales – seven of the press release’s first eight words. Secondly, it is even harder than usual to work out what value this project is promising to add.

The new Financial Services Taskforce (FSTF) is part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), a venture co-chaired by Prince Charles and Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan that was launched with much éclat at Davos 2020.

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