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The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) from Glasgow on 31st October to 12th November 2021.

A4S was there as an impartial voice working with the finance community. Our aim in Glasgow was to bring finance to COP26, and COP26 to the finance community.

How you can take action:

  1. Watch our two A4S@COP26 broadcasts and the Finance for the Future Awards on demand – see below
  2. Sign up to our newsletter for information important to the finance and accounting community
  3. If you have had enough of the talking and want to take action, use our practical guidance to make a difference
  4. Sign up to our Net Zero statements of support for CFOs, Pensions Fund Chairs or Accounting Bodies to make your commitment to action public



Our statement on the ISSB launch

Over 17 years ago, A4S set out to change the reporting landscape. With the announcement of the IFRS Foundation’s new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), which will also merge the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF) and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), we are now at an exciting point where the vision that we have collectively developed for reporting is – at long last – becoming a reality.

Your top five 'need to knows' from COP26

Read our very quick top five from week one at COP26.

The Road from Glasgow

Read the blog from Jessica Fries, summarising our time in Glasgow and what's next for the finance community post-COP26.



During this live broadcast from Glasgow, we were able to react to the breaking news on the ISSB launch as well as other key announcements important to business, accountants and investors. You can watch the recording to hear from Janine Guillot, CEO, Value Reporting Foundation; Veronica Poole, Vice Chair, Deloitte UK; Rishi Kalra, Managing Director and Group CFO, Olam Food Ingredients; and Saker Nusseibeh CBE, CEO International at Federated Hermes. We also reflected on the key actions that business and investors can take to tackle the climate crisis. 

A4S@COP26 – Financing the future: reflections on week one

During our second live broadcast from Glasgow, we spoke to Hiro Mizuno, UN Special Envoy; David Blood, Co-Founder, Generation Investment Management; Sarah Gordon, CEO, Impact Investing Institute (III); Jamie Broderick, Board member at the III and former Head of Wealth Management at UBS; and Katie Murray, CFO, NatWest. We discussed the announcements made during week one at COP26 and what they mean for the finance community.

Finance for the Future Awards

Tuesday 2nd Nov

For the first time, the 9th annual awards was live streamed from events being held in London and Glasgow. The awards recognize financial leadership in building sustainable economies. Follow the link to see who won in our five categories


During the conference we were able to capture a few short interviews to ask what actions the finance community can do now, and how they can accelerate change.
Watch the videos below, and read our short written Q&As.

Gregor Alexander, Finance Director, SSE

Q. What has stood out for you during COP26?

A. While there’s no doubt there should have been a stronger agreement in the final COP26 agreement, I was genuinely struck by the energy, vibrancy and diversity of the activity both on the COP26 campus and on the fringe.  There is clearly a shared sense of purpose and commitment to meet the challenge ahead, and what is particularly welcome is that the finance community is in the middle of all of that.  I firmly believe that businesses have a brilliant opportunity now to show what they are best at: getting things done, quickly, efficiently and effectively. Trust in businesses was, arguably, damaged by the financial crash in 2008, but this same business world has the chance now for redemption. It’s time to start building and investing, more and faster. Governments need to set the direction and frameworks within which the private sector can deliver, but it’s our job as businesses to deliver the profitable solutions to the problem our planet faces.


Q. What key action should businesses be taking urgently to make the road from COP26 successful?

A. It comes down to three things: targets, delivery and integrity.

  • Targets: The starting point has to be that businesses set 1.5-degree aligned carbon reduction targets that provide them with a pathway for the short-term actions they need to take to accelerate the move to net zero. SSE’s 1.5-degree aligned targets, approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, commit us to reducing the carbon intensity of our scope 1 GHG intensity by 78.2% between 2018 and 2030, and to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 72.5% over the same time period.
  • Delivery: Businesses need to put their money where their mouth is and invest in reaching those targets and deliver rapid decarbonisation. At SSE, post-COP we have announced a 65% uplift on our previous capital investment plan, with the vast majority of the £12.5bn we plan to invest over the next five years going on low-carbon solutions.
  • Integrity: Greenwashing needs consigned to the history books. Openness about the challenges in getting to net zero and the trade-offs is important; and managing those trade-offs in a way that has integrity, transparency and promotes a fair and just transition for people is absolutely core to securing the public legitimacy for the transition.


Q. Why are finance teams so vital to this success?

A. Finance teams enable the transition to happen. Our bread and butter is quantification, measurement, discipline and delivery – all of which are essential in managing a successful transition to net zero.

Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman, Africa investor (Ai) Group

Q. What single action do you think will deliver the biggest impact over the next 12 months?

A. The International Energy Agency (IEA), have answered this one for us I think. They highlight that:

Fostering the financial conditions for a rapid deployment of clean energy in emerging and developing economies, and the creation of new regulatory frameworks, that will allow for the mobilisation and deployment of private capital at scale and at speed, is one of the defining challenges of our times.

I believe we are all aware, the legal and regulatory architecture in its current form is incapable of delivering the demands and needs of Net Zero targets. Especially in terms of capital formation at scale and accelerated capital deployment.

We cannot say we are acting with urgency, when it currently takes the equivalent of 6 – 10 Annual COP Summits, for what is today, the average time for a major NetZero energy infrastructure projects to reach financial close, in emerging and frontier markets - and some developed markets mind you!

With that in mind, during COP 26, we announced ‘The Model Law for Institutional Investor-Public Partnerships (IIPPs) initiative, to design the framework to deliver greater public-private finance mandate alignment and more catalytic private investment pathways that fast track, scale, and de-risk private capitals’ participation in the green and just transition in emerging and developing countries, implemented through IIPPs.

The ML-IIPP initiative, is a collaboration led by the AfGIIB and our global partner, the CFA Asset Owners Council (AoC), in association with global law firm DLA-Piper (which is also COP 26’s Legal Service Provider).

The Model Law aims to introduce and enable the use of a newly designed infrastructure investment procurement regulation and framework DIRECTLY, between governments and global institutional investors, for green and Net Zero infrastructure investment programmes and projects, both domestically and across borders.
Specifically, the ML-IIPP is a legal and regulatory partnership framework initiative, for COP 26 and COP 27 to support of the goals of the Paris Agreement, the SDGs, Net Zero, and Agenda 2063 for policy makers and global institutional investors to:

  1. Mobilise private capital at scale
  2. Deploy capital at speed
  3. Deepen and green secondary and capital markets
  4. Support innovative green and cleantech project developers
  5. Launch a Digital Resource Centre for IIPPs for public and private stakeholders

The initiative enjoys the support of institutions representing over $100trn of assets under management, as a key legal pathway instrument, to fast track the development of the bankable NetZero project pipeline, and to de-risk their participation in emerging markets.

So I would say, the creation of new regulatory frameworks, that will allow for the mobilisation and deployment of private capital at scale and at speed, to emerging markets is the single action that will deliver the most catalytic and biggest impact over the next 12 months.

Resources you can use

Net zero guidance

A4S has developed this guidance with members of our CFO Leadership Network to share the practical steps that finance teams can take to support their organization to progress towards net zero emissions.

In addition, pension fund chairs from our Asset Owners Network have shared a set of top tips to help fellow trustees get started. 

Essential guides series

The guides have been developed by the A4S CFO Leadership Network and their teams (comprising senior finance, risk, internal audit, investor relations and sustainability professionals), A4S and other specialists. Each guide is supported by examples from network members which demonstrate practical applications of the approaches and techniques set out in the guides.

Navigating the reporting landscape

This guide, created by the A4S Accounting Bodies Network, offers a brief introduction to the changing corporate reporting landscape. It summarizes recent key developments in sustainability reporting. It sets out how these developments are impacting the role of the accountant and shaping the future of corporate reporting. It also highlights how this area is likely to evolve, offering signposting to further sources of information.



How does your progress on ESG compare to others? We are asking CFOs and Chief Investment Officers to take part in the Finance Leaders’ Sustainability Barometer to understand the latest trends. Take part now.


Stay up to date with all the latest news at A4S. Our Monthly Newsletter includes the latest guides, reports, stories and thought pieces from finance leaders from across the globe.

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