The Lord Mayor of the City of London will always visit China during their year of office. China is a major trading partner and inward investor in the UK. This year due to Covid restrictions this is not possible but the Lord Mayor made a virtual visit between March 21st – 24th. I accompanied him as Sheriff as might have been the case if the visit were in person. This all took place in the Mansion House via brilliant technology and simultaneous translation. The purpose of the visit was to showcase the depth and breadth of the City’s offer as a leading international green/sustainable financial centre, to promote the UK as a leading investment management hub through the Global Investment Futures campaign and provide an update on how the UK is faring post Covid and post Brexit. The engagement ranged from seminars to fireside chats and engagement with a range of businesses and political leaders.
A summit on the Global Investment Futures campaign https://www.theglobalcity.uk/global-investment-futures allowed me to remind the audience of the fundamental strengths of the City: a global outlook, a world-class business environment and a skilled and entrepreneurial workforce. In this regard the UK and China have complementary strengths. Most important areas of note are the reach of UK Regulation and the way that UK regulators address new approaches resulting from disruptors in a way that does not stifle innovation but protects consumers – it is agile and coherent. As a lawyer, I was also keen to mention the strength of the UK for arbitration and its strong legal environment. The UK also thrives with a multicultural talent resource which aids business set up and development. Our working environment is culturally and educationally strong. Another key element is the prominence of ESG in the minds of companies. It requires new ways of working and thinking and innovation. The UK and China have a very strong record of working together in innovation in sustainable and green finance. The UK leads in Asset Management globally in incorporating ESG considerations in metrics and disclosures. I did not fail to mention the Green Finance Institute and its ground-breaking work, where I sit as a non-executive director.
We met the Vice Mayor of Beijing YIN Yong at an important dialogue on sustainable investing in the UK. There was great representation from the Beijing Asset Management Association and the Beijing Financial Service as well as the main Chinese Banks.
Our last stop was with the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and a three way conversation with the Chairman of Britcham HK Peter Burnett, the Lord Mayor and myself. We touched on sustainable finance, COP26, FinTech and Central Bank Digital Currencies. The Britcham HK is a very vibrant association and provided a chance to talk more extensively about the work of the City and liaison with Hong Kong. https://www.britcham.com/
Here is the text of the speech that I gave at a conference at and with the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and the Medical Women's Federation on the Safety of Women in Cities on International Women's Day March 8th 2022International Women’s Day is a celebration of women in today’s society – worth reflecting on the inequality of opportunity and outcomes across the Globe – not least in present day Ukraine and Russia.
More than half of the world’s population live in Cities and by 2050 the UN predict it will be 68% of the world’s population. What a strain and we will need to regulate our way of living – raising so many issues of transport housing air quality water waste and security. These issues affect us all but some areas can be much more problematical for women and girls.
As an elected Alderman of the City for 20 years as well as Sheriff for one year only, I want to look at this topic of safety of women in the context of our City of London – the financial and business square mile
As a starting point, it is the duty of any government or governing body to keep all its citizens safe and secure. There are many other statutory duties imposed on local authorities where they can impact for good regarding housing, licensing, education and public spaces. equal access design toilets and play areas.
In that regard, however, if a City or the City does not embrace the diversity of its occupiers residents employees and visitors then will it work? I would argue that a city designed by, run by and enforced by, say, only men will clearly not take account of the needs of all.
We are just about to have elections for our 100 City Common Council members. Facing the potential of a democratic deficit the City Corporation undertook a very proactive campaign last year to get a more diverse pool of candidates and to encourage businesses who sign up the voters from their employees to consider a more diverse representation. As nominations closed on Friday we had 98 men and 39 women standing. In 5 of the 25 wards there were no women standing at all. Not sure I feel that we have really cracked this issue and I wonder how will it affect the way the Corporation is run.
Another area where the City Corporation is often under scrutiny is around planning decisions – keen as we are to create vibrant buildings to attract new and important occupiers.
“cities work better for men than they do for women,” the World Bank says in their 2020 Gender inclusive urban planning design handbook. Does that apply here?
Female-led urban planning could address some of the historical sexism built into cities, for example by making public spaces more hospitable to families or providing more female loos.
We know that the number of male cyclists outnumbers females and so we need to encourage women cycling and bust all the myths of helmet hair. More cycle lanes, planned showers and changing facilities will help. These are all important and are now largely hard wired into the City’s planning process.
What then of the direct issue of safety in the City? A clear lever that the City has is its police force. It is both locally policing the square mile and holds the national lead in fraud and cybercrime. I am a former member of the Police authority board and so declare an interest, but I have never been uncritical. We have a newly appointed Commissioner Angela McLaren. She was speaking at an IWD event that I led on Friday and said there with some sadness that she did not want to lead a force that was currently at the bottom of the table for women in the force. I will support her work to create more female officers. Recognising and naming the issue is surely a good start in solving it.
Next of importance is the way that the police are creating a safe environment in the city and online – bearing in mind that the City police run the Action fraud national reporting line for all UK fraud matters
The Police with the City Corporation and other agencies have a Strategy for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). The many facets of VAWG and its diverse, far-reaching consequences mean it can only be tackled by multi-agency partnership work with 3 priorities - prevention awareness training and learning; early intervention and community development.
It ensures that those affected have access to support services and perpetrators are held to account via police investigation.
This strategy is alongside the well publicised Ask for Angela initiative which is a shorthand phrase that those feeling unsafe can use and which will alert staff in bars, clubs and other licensed businesses across London to act to provide help. Including getting them home safely or reuniting them with friends.
The night time economy is a vibrant part of the city and working with licenced premises is key to reduce crime.
The City Corporation oversees criminal and civil justice in the City and in particular owns and runs the Central Criminal Court – the Old Bailey where I am based as a Sheriff. Criminal justice must act impartially and fairly with a timely response and equal access. The Old Bailey now has an equal number of male and female permanent judges. This is key to seeing justice is done. In fact I will be hosting an event at the Old Bailey at the end of the month exploring how a better understanding of trauma could support survivors of domestic abuse in our courts.
By necessity I can only touch on these areas and have not reviewed how businesses themselves are responding responsibly and in collaboration on many initiatives in their own workplaces and externally via philanthropic engagement.
Let me conclude. The City of London is unique in many ways but in this instance it is not immune or above the need to create an environment that is inclusive and fair. A city designed or repurposed and retrofitted to ensure this both in its governance and infrastructure as well as in its ethics and behaviour is the one to which I aspire
I was delighted to be part of the Lord Mayor’s party to visit Liverpool on 25 February. The Lord Mayor’s year includes many visits overseas but also a growing number of regional visits to those UK cities that are closely involved with the Financial and Professional Services sector. I know well how connected Liverpool is. The legal firm that I first joined as an articled clerk, then known as Alsop Stevens Batesons & Co, was a Liverpool/London firm, in that order. The business started in Liverpool in the mid-19th century and came to London in 1954. The work of the firm was rooted in the maritime and insurance world with some major banking clients as well. That same mix of maritime and wealth management is strong in Liverpool today. The visit provided a great insight into that sector and into the education and research being carried out at the University of Liverpool and the innovation and growth happening on a major scale.
Any Mayoral visit hopes to meet the main leaders of the City and we were pleased to have meetings with the Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram and the Civic Lord Mayor, Councillor Mary Rasmussen. Mayor Steve was keen to talk about the digital connectivity of the Liverpool area which would be a real driver for the region. Further links with London and potential private financing of new businesses and innovation could build a positive partnership. The Lord Mayor showed us the Town Hall which was built just 10 years after the City's Mansion House. It is not surprising that Liverpool's Georgian architecture has been much lauded.
Our day started on the Waterside and coffee with Stephen Cowperthwaite of Avison Young and a member of the Professional Liverpool Board. He was very upbeat about the positive developments in the city including the Spine - said to be the UK's healthiest building. We were lucky enough to visit this landmark later in the day and see the accommodation that the Royal College of Physicians has taken as a second location outside London. Such a good choice with the Knowledge Quarter burgeoning with medical and pharma occupiers. The new Pandemic Institute is a global first and will stand alongside the work of iiCON, the infection innovation consortium, that we visited. This is led by Professor Janet Hemingway of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. We were shown state of the art facilities and learned about their development of products that will help reduce the burden of disease worldwide.
The University of Liverpool was also a key partner and we could see the benefit of this campus site in the centre of the City and the Knowledge Quarter. The Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy was very much my interest and the science research here is just the sort of innovation needed to be financed to help mitigate rising carbon emissions. Solar power and a more efficient way of collecting and transmitting this with the possible use of perovskite solar cells was one lesson I learned ( hoping that I got the science right in this case).
I do not want to miss mentioning our visit to the Tate Liverpool to see an amazing range of works that included a hill village built of couscous and wallpaper paste as well as an image of our own City’s London Bridge in Arizona. The Tate has a significant outreach programme that clearly helps to build community links and provides education, job experience and employment.
Liverpool struck me as a very cohesive City, confident of their way forward and with strong leadership and aims.
Here you all are my Livery Companies - the Magnificent 7 and here am I YOUR SHERIFF.
I don’t think that following the story line of those Magnificent 7 movies will bring much of a theme for my speech tonight. The Sheriff was corrupt and ends up dead like all bad sheriffs should do. I hope I am proving to be a good sheriff.
As you will all know I love this City of London. I first visited for the anniversary of the British and Foreign Bible Society when I was about 11 or 12 and taken with my best friend Jane by my Sunday school teacher Mr Barnet to the Guildhall and it was packed with people, mainly children as I recall and there was an enormous cake that was cut to celebrate the anniversary. Childhood bliss. The cake that is and not the splendour of Guildhall What is entirely incredible is that the Ward of Dowgate that I have represented for the last 30 years was in fact the location of the founding of the forerunner of the Bible Society and so a circle of links begins to turn.
That is one of the reasons that I love this City and that I chose the mobius strip or loop as the background to my shrieval badge. The continuity of that shape and the energy that such activity it embodies ; I hope is a symbol or emblem of the way that I have tried to act in my professional, personal and civic life.
So what is it I love?
It strikes me that however you arrive in the City on foot train bus or plane or helicopter - it’s exciting
Coming over one of the City’s 5 bridges owned by the City Corporation trustee of the Bridge House Estates of which I am now the Deputy Chair again – you cannot but look up from your paper or iPhone and see the river flowing majestically beneath you – the tide coming in and out like the commuters and the renewing of the foreshore and the purpose as they arrive each day be it for work play or business.
Arriving from the north – down the hill just like Dick Whittington –That’s another link to my ward as he lived there and founded almshouses and the church and he left funds to create 64 long drops - equal numbers for men and women – he is my sort of hero- although we all know that women need more facilities in order to avoid the queuing which I am sure happened even in medieval times
Once in the City who can but wonder at the eclectic mix of buildings crammed into such a small square mile. Every variety of financial and professional service and supporting businesses; the churches with towers and spires pointing heavenward and, of course the Livery Halls that so many pass by without notice of their purpose or what or who is happening inside.
The spaces between are just as important - the roads and pavements parking bays cycle racks and e scooter and taxi ranks, the piazza and squares and the wonderful gardens and lawns under our feet or flying high in the air above us – public or private. The flora and fauna and precious buds and burgeoning bursts of life that amaze us. The ponds ornamental water features lakes and drinking fountains. Yes we have Hills – Ludgate and Cornhill and they are not artificial such as some neighbouring boroughs want to build and then demolish pretty smartish.
And I haven’t even started on the people who are at the heart of this buzzing City. They too reflect so many different backgrounds and purposes of this great metropolis. I use the word reflect rather than represent as there are many not present or not in the profusion that they should be and that is a challenge we all need to address and a purpose we need to pursue together.
And the Livery companies are part of the warp and weft of this City and not just a manufacturers label on the garment of the City. All of you are my Livery companies because you get the relevance of the Livery to our professions crafts and trades; our potential and outreach and our love of the Mayoralty and ceremonial. This runs true for the companies and for the added work such as that of the Livery Climate Action group. No I have not missed the opportunity to discuss the need to protect this precious environment – a word that I use in its widest possible meaning.
I do want to give huge vote of thanks to the members of the Livery Climate Action Group who are here “outwith” the Magnificent 7 and deserve all my thanks for all their hard work and positive response and assistance to the founding of the group and the bringing together of now over 40 Livery Companies as members. Thank you and well done.
Do you love this City? Can we all work together to make it better? Do we have arms wide enough to throw open to bring in and nurture the best talent? To lead the way in responsible business and creative and innovative solutions? To ensure we keep our place as the global financial centre with the ability to cascade the jobs and financial benefits throughout the UK. Can we believe this? I do and that’s what I love about this City and these people.
So I return to the theme of the western – I do reckon that I could have been a good Sheriff then and prevented all those duels that start off “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.” You just need better town planning.
Trial by a jury of your peers is a current maxim of English Law and has come under scrutiny with the outcome of the case of the Colston 4 who were found not guilty of criminal damage to the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol.
Jury trial is not an invention of English law nor is it peculiar to our legal system. It dates back to ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and Islamic law. However it is now an integral part of the English criminal justice system; enshrined in Magna Carta and beloved of jurists.
The Old Bailey has played a significant role in the development of the jury system. It had been the case until the 17th century that juries were led by or expected to find as the Judge directed. A case of conscience came to the Old Bailey in 1670 when two Quakers who were preaching to a crowd in Gracechurch Street in the City were charged with unlawful assembly. The jury would not find them guilty and the Judge was incensed and locked the jury up without food, water or heating until they came to a “ verdict that the court will accept”. One of the defendants was the famous William Penn (later to be founder of Pennsylvania) and he shouted to the jury “You are Englishmen, mind your privilege give not away your right”. After two days the jury still stood firm and so the Judge accepted the determination but fined the jury for contempt of court and they were sent to prison until they paid the fine. One juror was Edward Bushell who petitioned for a write of habeas corpus – against unlawful detention. This went to the Court of the Chief Justice who determined that the jury could not be punished simply on account of the verdict it returned. Thus enshrining the right to the conscience of the jury to convict or acquit as they saw fit.
Sometimes referred to as a perverse verdict, the same situation arose in 1984 when civil servant Clive Ponting who had leaked papers about the sinking of the Belgrano in the Falklands War was acquitted by a jury in Court 1 at the Old Bailey. He had been charged under the Official Secrets Act and the Judge had directed the jury to convict him as he did not deny that he handed the papers to the MP concerned but pleaded as defence that the release of the papers was in the public interest. The jury acquitted.
Both these previous cases have resonance with the trial and outcome of the Colston 4. There are some technical legal issues around the Colston case that I will not unpick fully here but it is clear in all cases that the prosecution need to prove their case “beyond reasonable doubt” or so that the jury is sure. In the case of criminal damage the defendants can legally raise the issue of a lawful excuse as to what they did (which, in turn, the prosecution also need to disprove). But there is a further aspect to this case that echoes that of Bushell and that is the right of freedom of thought and conscience. Rights that are now guaranteed in the European Convention on Human Rights but did exist in the 17th century as well. Indeed the interplay of the Convention and the English law was a key element in a recent Supreme Court case of DPP- vs– Ziegler in 2021 and others so there is very current judicial opinion on this question. The Ziegler case concerned a protest against an arms fair in London and, in summary, decided that the Court is required to consider whether convicting the defendants would represent a proportionate interference with the exercise of those human rights.
On 25th November I was invited to be the principle guest and speaker at the Broad Street Ward Club and enjoyed crafting a speech that pointed up the rivalry with my own Ward of Dowgate but also the interconnectedness of the City and our friendly links. My speech as delivered:
"It is such a delight to be here in person in this historic 12th century crypt of the Guildhall and be able to celebrate this annual Broad Street Ward Club lunch.
Thank you Chairman for this invite and on behalf of my consort Glenn and all your guests, thank you for this wonderful lunch.
I am one of the not so new Sheriffs in town and am pleased to have a public chance to pay tribute to Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli and Christopher Hayward – both Broad Street stalwarts who both play an enormous part in the City in their existing roles but then as Sheriffs - two termers – they were vital in keeping the City functioning and encouraging the return and support that is proving so successful. They have both been tremendously helpful to me personally and I am very grateful to them as should the whole City
It is just as well we are here in the Guildhall – sort of neutral territory between Broad Street and my Ward of Dowgate as we have a few issues to resolve between us.
I know from my research that Broad St claims Richard /Dick Whittington as your own. But, of course he lived in Dowgate - my Ward and we have the blue plaque to prove it. His will left money to the Church of St Michael Paternoster Royal in my Ward and also to provide 64 latrines - I am glad to say that there was no gendered thinking in the 15th century as there were 32 long drops for men and an equal number for women – built on the boundary of my Ward. We in Dowgate have always led the way in hygiene and safety with the Cleansing station for the City neatly at the outpouring of the River Walbrook into the Thames. That tributary is the boundary of my Ward and the rubbish dump is safely on the Vintry side.
Talking of water – you claim the Plumbers as one of your Livery Companies but they started in Dowgate where their Hall stood until Cannon Street Station bulldozed it down and we hold dear both a sign as to the Hall’s erstwhile location, as well as the wonderful Plumbers’ apprentice statue on the station concourse.
You might claim that St Margaret Lothbury is at least partly in Broad St but in fact the Glovers Livery ( my mother livery) lay claim to this with our stained glass window and my long term friendship with Rector Jeremy Crossley dating back to our university days.
Well all of this goes to show not that we want to start an argument but that the history and current workings of the City are so intertwined and enmeshed. We can share these links.
The Church’s doors are, I am sure Jeremy would say, open to all; the history of Dick Whittington is universal of rags to riches and fits very well the new Lord Mayor’s theme of people and purpose: investing in a better tomorrow ….
His aim under the banner of “People” is to make sure that we invest in the skills which the City needs, and that all people have the opportunity to thrive and progress in their careers.
Not just getting in, but getting on.
A foot in the door leading to them climbing up the ladder as well.
This chimes so well with our shared history of Dick Whittington making good.
As to the plumbers we can share the pipework - I can take the female fittings and you the male – as despite your name there are no broads in Broad St – or at least none as elected members this side of the upcoming Common Council elections. So let me give a plug to the new electoral role and encourage all of you with businesses in the City to sign up without delay to the new register – you have until 16 December and maybe that will bring in both new voters and new candidates – the City wants to create a wider diversity whilst not losing our excellent members who have a lot more to give to this wonderful City. This is all on the City’s website under #SpeakupfortheCity.
I have been speaking up today for this wonderful City as I do daily in my work as an Alderman and Sheriff. Thank you for listening – if you were – and can I ask you to rise to drink a toast
To the Broad Street Ward Club"
How did it all turn out?
“Hopes unfulfilled but not buried” said Antonio Guterres the UN Secretary General. He went on “The COP26 deal is a compromise reflecting the interests contradictions and state of political will in the world today. It’s an important step but it’s not enough. It’s time to go into emergency mode. The climate battle is the fight of our lives and that fight must be won”
What are the negative elements?
The need was for the Nationally Determined Contributions to meet the 1.5 degree limit to temperature and that was not achieved. The pledges leave us somewhere around 1.8 degrees. What we do have is a commitment to come back next year at COP27 to revise these to be more ambitious to meet 1.5 degrees. Let us hope that nations step up to this requirement.
Secondly, whilst the Glasgow Climate Pact is the first ever climate deal to explicitly plan to reduce coal, the worst fossil fuel for greenhouse gases, the draft proposal was prepared stating that there would be a phase out of coal and this was, at the last minute, rephrased to “phase down” and gave specifically India and China a let out. Both this outcome and the fact that the deal was renegotiated at the last minute left Alok Sharma the COP President choking away tears at this manoeuvring.
For balance, I should state that the UN’s Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, responsible for $10 trillion in assets, committed to phase out most thermal coal assets by 2030 for industrialized countries and worldwide by 2040. Thirty-three GFANZ members are now part of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, with 11 new firms joining at COP26.
More than 40 countries have committed to shift away from coal, in pledges made at the COP26 climate summit.
The final deal promises more funds for developing countries - to help them adapt to climate impacts.
Money talks and this is another area where the nations had not met the target set in Paris - which was that the richer countries agreed that the poorer countries would receive at least $100bn (£75bn) a year from 2020, from public and private sources, to help them cut emissions and cope with the impacts of the climate crisis. But by 2019, the latest year for which data is available, only $80bn had flowed.
Developing countries are angered by this, which was reflected at the talks, and have now been promised that increases will follow in the next five years that will bring the finance for the next five years to $500bn. Crucially, they also want more of the cash to be spent on assisting in adaptation, rather than just cutting emissions. In the end, the text agreed to double the proportion of climate finance going to adaptation.
Let’s look at the good elements - 1.5 degrees is still alive as an aim. The Glasgow Climate Pact has put science and nature front and centre, and galvanized global efforts behind 1.5°C, with a focus on the 45% emissions cuts needed this decade by 2030. It has also called for doubling adaptation finance and acknowledged the importance of addressing loss and damage also known as reparations, an initial step forward for the most climate-vulnerable communities.
Glasgow has helped to bring the non-state actor and government agendas closer together, focused on the specific solutions needed to decarbonise key sectors and build resilience. At COP26, we have seen positively reinforcing actions by sub-national governments, industry, and finance. On the Monday after COP, the FT headline suggested that business is disappointed at the lack of government ambition and so these non-state actors will be part of the drive to push for more pledges and commitment in the years to come.
Let’s see how this looks
• there has been a breakthrough commitment to end deforestation, with 133 world leaders responsible for around 90% of the world’s forests promising to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, plus 33 financial institutions with $8.7 trillion in assets under management, committing to tackle deforestation in the 2020s.
• a major agreement on methane speeds up our potential for deep short-term cuts to deliver on climate goals, as one of the most effective immediate actions to reduce near-term global warming.
• the end of the combustion engine is in sight, as national governments, cities, states and major businesses have agreed to end the sale of internal combustion engines by 2035 in leading markets.
• mainstream private finance is publicly committed to transforming the economy for net zero. Through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, over 450 firms across 45 countries are now committed to set robust, near-term science-based targets to halve their fair share of emissions by 2030 This accounts for over $130 trln dollars.
• nearly 8,000 non-state actors have committed to halving emissions by 2030 as part of Race to Zero, as the UN Climate Champions launch a 5-year plan to deepen engagement with regional stakeholders, enhance the implementation of non-state actors’ commitments, and develop tools for accountability across mitigation, finance and adaptation.
The technical groundwork has been laid to enable enforcement of sustainability standards and resilience actions, with the launch of International Sustainability Standards Board promoted by the IFRS. This is something that the City of London has been keen to support and will be essential to stop claims of greening being only superficial or inaccurate
• A new metrics framework for measuring resilience, for the first time, allows cities, regions, businesses and investors to measure the progress of their work in building resilience to climate change for the 4 billion people most at risk by 2030.
• In the UK Rishi Sunak announced that he would be making net zero transition plans mandatory for UK financial institutions and listed companies by 2023.
A lot has happened and I want to stay positive. I believe that finance has a big role to play both to urge Governments to do more and to ensure the transition works across all nations. And it needs to work fairly and equitably.
Mark Carney the UN and UK envoy said “People will no longer tolerate worthy statements followed by futile gestures. They won’t settle for governments making announcements at summits that they don’t meet at home, or companies that speak green but don’t act.That’s why we’ve worked to transform the heart of finance.”
That work is still in process with the City Corporation and the Green Finance Institute alongside Government and businesses.
The week started as the meeting of the G20 countries was concluding and leaders were leaving Rome for Glasgow. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, left Rome “with my hopes unfulfilled, but at least they are not buried."
I wonder how he feels now at the end of the first week of COP26? There have been many useful announcements:
On coal - more than 40 countries have committed to shift away from coal, in pledges made at the summit and by the UN’s Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, responsible for $10 trillion in assets. They have committed to phase out most thermal coal assets by 2030 for industrialized countries and worldwide by 2040. Major coal-using countries including Poland, Vietnam and Chile are among those to make this pledge.
On trees - 133 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe endorsed the declaration on forest and land use, committing to collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.
On methane - 106 nations signed a joint U.S.-European Union pledge to collectively reduce global methane emissions 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.
On finance – this the first COP to consider the issue of financing the transition. An acknowledgement that public finance alone cannot pay for all that is needed and the financial world wants to step up. This is led largely by Mark Carney, Former Governor of the Bank of England and UN special adviser. His drive has led to the focus this year and that has been matched by the engagement of the financial world and a main driver for the City of London Corporation. The formation of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) has brought together businesses with more than $130trn (£95trn) of private capital which "is now committed to transforming the economy for net zero". In total, 450 firms controlling 40% of global financial assets have agreed to commit to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
The UK is showing leadership here with the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, stating that London would become the first financial centre committed to net zero. This is alongside making mandatory disclosures of exposure to climate risks (TCFD) and committing £100 million of funding into the developing world to help them take up these financial offers.
Despite these pledges and the Nationally Determined Contributions that the attending nations need to provide, the goal of only a 1.5 degree temperature rise is not yet in sight. It is considered to be on track for slightly less than 2 degrees. At the same time the Pacific leaders are calling for developed nations to cut emissions by 50% by 2030 – forcing the pace since a commitment to 2050, 2060 or 2070 needs marker points on the way in order to be accountable. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Glasgow and other Cities around the world to press home this point that the leaders of nations are not acting fast enough.
Let’s see if week 2 can deliver more.
I will be attending COP26 on Thursday 11 November – the day committed to “Cities, Regions and Built Environment” - advancing action in the places we live, from communities, through to cities and regions. I will be pleased to talk about the work of the City of London Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy and our plans for this City. https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/environmental-health/climate-action/climate-action-strategy
I approach COP26 positively, as I am basically an optimistic person. I feel I have travelled a long time alone on this journey but now the nations, business and civil society are speaking up and taking action. Of this there is no doubt. The concern is whether they are going to do enough and fast enough. The many competing political and diplomatic issues (Brexit and French fisheries) are distractions from the important goal for our planet. Scientific reports are scary and compel action. There are only faint cries from naysayers and so they cannot account for any significant delay. Chatham House produced a Climate Change Risk Assessment 2021 https://www.chathamhouse.org/2021/09/climate-change-risk-assessment-2021 in September that clearly stated that the world was dangerously off track to meet the Paris Agreement goals ; the risks are compounding and without immediate action there will be devastating impacts in the coming decades. The UK Government is the key mover in this diplomacy with the President of COP, Cabinet Minister Alok Sharma, in place to deliver this. Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson was managing expectations (down) on the likely outcome and the Government’s own preparation and purpose has been less than joined up. By and large the post Covid assistance to business was not tempered by climate or environmental regulation and so an opportunity was lost to embed such good behaviour and work patterns. This is a huge opportunity for Britain to lead the world and surge out of the gloom of Covid and Brexit and show itself a leader on the world’s stage.
I see the opportunity here for the City of London. As the leader in green finance, the City has an economic environment with deep and trusted capital funds and professional expertise, to show how private finance can work alongside public and international funds to help the transition and create a resilient world. This should help answer the question who should pay as our finance systems are rewired – financing green and creating green finance.
The Sheriff’s authority is represented by the three stranded chain and the City’s coat of arms. The jewel, or badge, is a frolic allowed to the Sheriff to express their own coat of arms, interests and supporters. A chance to shimmer as a Sheriff.
I chose to have the collar and jewel designed by Dave Harper of W.H.Darby, working in consultation with Wynyard Wilkinson of the Company of Arts Scholars. The actual fabrication of the jewel was carried out by Martyn Wykes and his British-trained team.
My coat of arms is engulfed by mobius strips that speak to my activity and energy and show the paradox that abounds in life, needing us to look at things in different ways.
The prominent shields are of my Livery Companies - the Glovers, Plaisterers, Solicitors and Chartered Surveyors. My position as an honorary Upholder is marked by the eider duck that also notes my interest in birds. The flame represents both my position as honorary Fueller and Methodism in linking to the Aldersgate Flame of John Wesley, commemorated in the bronze flame outside the Museum of London where I am both a trustee of the Flame and of the Museum. Methodism still burns in my heart. As an Honorary Constructor, six links are golden bricks referencing the construction business and my professional life as a City commercial real estate lawyer.
The shields of the Vintry and Dowgate Wards Club alongside the City Livery Club and The Royal Society of St George are organisations where I have undertaken the leading role and promoted the City to a wider audience.
Durham University and Van Mildert College are essential to my backstory and the Palatinate Purple background underpins the central jewel. My motto Sic Vos Non Vobis is my College motto taken from Virgil and translates as “Not for (Y)ourselves”, indicating my wish to serve selflessly but alongside others (not alone).
Between the jewel and the chain is London Bridge – an enduring symbol of the City representing the philanthropy that flowed from Londoners towards the bridge and still emanates today from the City Bridge Trust where I served as Chair.
The coat of arms was designed by William Hunt working with John Petrie, Windsor Herald. As an unmarried woman my coat of arms must be displayed on a lozenge; neither shield nor crest is allowed, being martial devices. The formal description of the coat of arms is:
Per fess Argent and Sable on a Pale engrailed counterchanged in chief two Billets palewise in pale Or between two St Cuthbert’s Crosses Purpure and in base a Sword erect Gules between four Billets palewise in pale Or.