It was an opportunity too good to miss.
Early in 2015, I interviewed Sean Kidney, chief executive of the Climate Bonds Initiative, during his visit to Australia. The man was on fire. Full of the passion and excitement at the potential of climate bonds and green bonds to change the trajectory of climate change.
Lined up and looking for green and clean investment opportunities were the biggest and wealthiest investors on the planet – institutions and pension funds. In quick time they had sensed the world was changing. Their ultimate investors – their members and shareholders – were increasing pressure to divest from coal, to fund solar energy, wind power, wave power, trains and other public transport.
If the world’s powerful financial markets could be mobilised in this campaign, then it would be game on.
Now The Fifth Estate had a chance to visit London, thanks to Bentley Systems and its yearly confest where it flies in journalists from all over the world to hear about the building information modelling, the incredible technology that coincidently is being used to design and deliver massive infrastructure projects like the Cross Rail in London and its new sibling the High Speed 2, or HS2.
BIM was exciting, but London was even more exciting: the centre of the financial world and hot-bed of green bond and climate bonds development; right on the cusp of Europe’s bubbling nexus of pension fund fomentation of demand for green investment; and just days ahead of the COP21 climate talks in Paris.
And so we beavered and badgered away in the evening hours in Sydney, convincing some of London’s finest, most-engaged property and finance people in the space to join us for dinner one night in November.
This book is the result.
A massive thanks to all who attended and helped shape this event. The irrepressible Sean Kidney, who flew in straight from Beijing, suitcase in hand, to attend the dinner. The highly regarded Tatiana Bosteels of Hermes, who we quickly learnt would be the major drawcard and who generously accepted our invitation. Sarah Ratcliffe of the Better Buildings Partnership, who gave invaluable and support to our cause. Likewise Julie Hirigoyen of the UK Green Building Council and her critical insight into the industry and politics of the land. And ANZ’s Cath Bremner, who just happened to be in London on leave; Lloyds Bank’s Adam Macdonald; the UK Trade and Investment’s Allan Walker; Starfish Capital’s Martin Gerrelli; M&G’s Nina Reid; LaSalle Investment Management’s James Smith; London Energy Efficiency Fund’s Steven Fawkes; and, finally, our intrepid TFE UK writer David Thorpe.