The new Centre for Climate Finance and Investment at Imperial College Business School – part of Imperial College London – will provide companies with investment advice on climate-resilient infrastructure, clean technologies such as solar and wind energy, and energy-efficient transport.

Researchers will examine how large firms, SMEs and entrepreneurs are already responding to climate change and recommend new approaches to solving investment issues.

Imperial College Business School head of the centre Dr Charles Donavan said: “Climate change has already created major political and technological changes that are disrupting a number of business sectors. Adapting intelligently to these changes is not just about the environmental agenda for companies, it’s about how they survive and thrive amidst a climate of risk.

“The new research centre will help businesses avoid the serious impact of climate change, whilst raising the prospects for global economic growth.”

Climate education

The new centre will divide its work into three main themes: tools for financing climate-ready infrastructure; routes to sourcing clean energy investing (new forms of investing and the barriers to business growth); and managing firms in carbon-constrained economies (financial returns on sustainable business management and the impact of carbon pricing).

The announcement follows a September launch of a new Imperial College Business School MSc in in Climate Change, Management and Finance. The one year’s Master’s degree was established in partnership with the Grantham Institute, and aims to equip graduates with the skills required to tackle the business challenges caused by climate change.

Grantham Institute co-director Professor Martin Siegert welcomed the new research centre, saying: “We are delighted that this new centre will be driving forward much-needed academic research in climate finance and investment. We look forward to supporting the centre’s development and activities, helping to build up networks beyond academia, to maximise the impact this work can have in the business and policy community.”

Fit for purpose

Imperial College London will speak at COP22 today to discuss the financial mechanisms needed to encourage investment in low-carbon technologies and storage. The education institution has become a champion of the low-carbon drive in recent times – its White City Campus is set to be part of the west London “cleantech cluster”, housing green businesses in the early stages of their development.

The new centre highlights the importance of businesses making better green investment decisions. Last week, the UK’s Special Representative for Climate Change Sir David King told edie of the “critical” importance that the private sector invests in infrastructure “fit for purpose” in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Companies that fail to realise the long-term benefits of sustainable investment will see their financial returns collapse, one of Britain’s biggest investment groups told edie recently.

George Ogleby

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