The Labour Party Annual Conference 2023
SME4Labour and Labour in the City fringe: SMEs, Sustainability and the Financial Services Sector
🗓 Date: Monday, 9 October 2023
⏳ Time: 11:00
📍Location: SME4Labour POD (Meeting Room 22), ACC Liverpool, Kings Dock Street, Liverpool, England, L3 4FP
SME4Labour and Labour in the City fringe: SMEs, Sustainability, and the Financial Services Sector with Heather Buchanan, Director & Co-founder, Bankers for Net Zero;
Alex Sobel MP and Cllr Ryan Jude, Westminster City Council. This panel discussion was chaired by Nick Smith, Chair of Labour in the City
Alex Sobel highlighted the importance of SMEs in Leeds’ economy and the need for regulatory clarity, especially in areas like packaging and electronics. He discussed a roadmap for SMEs to transition to a circular economy. Sobel emphasized that achieving net-zero emissions requires all businesses to address their emissions, with carbon markets providing a way to offset emissions. He noted the complexity of emission measurement, suggesting that a single methodology might not be imposed centrally, leaving various options available.
Heather Buchanan emphasized the need for standardized reporting in the context of achieving net-zero emissions. She discussed efforts to convene an advisory group to establish basic reporting data points and the challenges associated with current carbon calculations. Heather also explained the Perseus Project’s goal of using open banking principles to ensure accurate and shareable data. Achieving proper data interoperability on a global scale is a significant challenge due to various regulatory barriers in different countries. She highlighted the importance of financial institutions understanding their role in decarbonizing financed emissions, particularly concerning mortgages, overdrafts, and small business loans. Engaging in this process remains a complex challenge.
Cllr Ryan Jude stressed the importance of aiding SMEs in reaching the 2030 net-zero emissions target. A large portion of UK emissions come from SMEs, but most lack decarbonization plans. Upcoming UK regulations will require banks and large firms to report their environmental performance using a green taxonomy, exempting SMEs due to capacity issues. Jude highlighted the need for support from banks, governments, or institutions like GFI to ensure SMEs can meet these regulations. He mentioned the roles of sectors like insurance, venture capital, and technical support in helping SMEs prioritize their environmental efforts. Standardizing reporting and simplifying the process are essential.
In summary, this panel explored the intersection of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), sustainability, and the financial services sector. Participants discovered how these key stakeholders could collaborate to foster sustainable practices.