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Tackling our climate crisis through innovation and collaboration

Event Recap:

We gathered in Glasgow as this conference brought together climate stakeholders from a range of sectors including financial services, FinTech, data, space, agriculture, home energy, academia and public sector.

We covered a range of topics across keynote speakers, panel discussions and a fireside chat. The audience were well and truly engaged and the conversation could have continued long after this event… watch this space.

Some of the event highlights included….

FinTech Scotland CEO Nicola Anderson demonstrating how Scotland is embracing FinTech innovation to drive climate finance and reinvent financial services to help deliver a more sustainable world. It was wonderful to see the range of partnerships and collaborations taking place across Scotland, with a wide range of organisations already working together across key strategic areas including ESG Data, Carbon Markets & Carbon Offsetting, Net Zero Economy and Financial Regulation.

The insights from our panel…. data and technology serve as critical instruments for the financial sector in tackling both the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Advanced analytics and fintech solutions facilitate improved modelling and analysis of climate effects, emissions monitoring and the incorporation of sustainability criteria into financial decision-making. However, genuine, substantive action is needed beyond merely relying on technology and data. What could this action look like?

Matthew Waldron from Mastercard reminded us that our lifestyles are responsible for two thirds of global emissions. Consumers are now conscious of consumption and are willing to change. We must work together in collaboration to empower each other as consumers and as businesses to make better choices. To achieve this we must educate each other, equip each other with more sustainable products and services, and encourage each other to make more mindful choices.

Our fireside chat with Julia (Jules) Salmond, Claire MacMillan and Catherine Swanson where we heard about the need to better support SMEs around the transition to net zero, the need to channel finance towards the low-carbon transition, and how active engagement and partnerships between the public, private and academic sectors should play a key role. We heard about initiatives to reduce carbon footprints, everything from 4 day working weeks to electric vehicle fleets. The trio also discussed the need for blended financial and climate related tools and better emissions data frameworks.

There was a wide range of other innovative businesses being showcased on the day. We heard from Robin Peters talk about the work that Snugg is doing to make sustainable home energy more attractive and affordable and in reducing the carbon footprint of homeowners. We also heard from Sam Fleming on the incredible work that Earth Blox are doing with satellite data to measure climate and nature risk across and respond to regulation across a range of industries and supply chains.

Finally a clear message from everyone involved – We need to do more and collaboration is key!

Some thoughts from the event Chair, Paul Forrest:

So, what were my key takeaways from the event?

Well… data and technology serve as critical instruments for the financial sector in tackling both the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Advanced analytics and fintech solutions facilitate improved modelling and analysis of climate effects, emissions monitoring and the incorporation of sustainability criteria into financial decision-making. However, genuine, substantive action is needed beyond merely relying on technology and data.

Greater transparency and standardised climate-related financial disclosures are essential for fostering trust and alleviating concerns. This should encompass honest reporting from companies regarding their emissions, climate-related risks and strategic approaches. Financial institutions must also be more forthright about their own climate risks and how they manage them. Uniform and comparable climate data is important for effective risk evaluation and capital distribution.

Robust governance and risk management protocols are imperative for handling financial risks related to climate change. Financial organisations should integrate climate considerations into their business strategies, operations and risk management frameworks.

Policy, regulation and industry collaboration are hugely significant. Governments can offer guidance, incentives and mandates to direct the financial sector towards supporting climate objectives and managing significant risks. Industry leadership and voluntary schemes can further accelerate progress.

To channel finance towards the low-carbon transition, active engagement and partnerships between the public, private and academic sectors are required. Blended financial tools, green investment frameworks and innovative risk-sharing arrangements can guide capital towards climate solutions.

The financial sector bears a significant responsibility, as well as a vested interest, in facilitating the transition to a sustainable, net-zero economy through its financing and investment activities. Technology, data, disclosure and collaborative efforts from policy and industry, ranging from SMEs to large publicly-listed companies and academic institutions, are all pivotal enablers.


8:45 - 9:30 AM
Arrival, Registration, Breakfast & Networking
9:30 - 9:35 AM
Welcome from Event Chair, Paul Forrest, MBN Soultions
9:35 - 9:45 AM
Opening Address, Kirsty McKenna, FinTech Scotland
9:45 - 10:25 AM
Panel Discussion: Addressing our climate crisis with technology and data. Fraser Tough, Natwest, Kirsteen Harrison, Zumo, Alisdair Gunn, Glasgow City Innovation District, Dr Yingru Li, University of Glasgow
10:25 - 10:45 AM
Delivering climate action through cross sector collaboration: Housing & Energy, Robin Peters, Snugg
10:45 – 11:15 AM
Break & Networking
11:15 – 11:35 AM
Delivering climate action through cross sector collaboration: Space sector, Sam Fleming, Earthblox
11:35 – 11:55 AM
Playing an active role in driving positive climate action, Matthew Waldron, Mastercard
11:55 AM – 12:35 PM
Fireside Chat: Financed Emissions and a just transition for SMEs. Jules Salmond, Ciendos, Katie Swanson, Atom Bank
12:30 – 12:35 PM
Closing Remarks from the Chair, Paul Forrest
12:35 – 1:30 PM
Lunch & Networking
1:30 – 1:45 PM

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Tuesday 03 October 2023
08:45 - 14:00
Advanced Research Centre, University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow Advanced Research Centre 11 Chapel Lane Glasgow G11 6EW

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Confirmed Speakers

Kirsty McKennaKirsty McKennaInnovation Programme Manager, FinTech Scotland
Fraser ToughFraser ToughHead of Climate Data Science & Innovation, Natwest

Fraser Tough is the Head of Climate Data Science and Innovation at NatWest, leading strategic development of climate modelling within the bank. Fraser focuses on addressing emerging climate challenges by developing solutions to quantify and mitigate climate risk for corporate and retail customers.

He joined NatWest after moving from the renewable energy sector where he utilised data science to enable data-based decision-making across renewables markets and technologies. Fraser is a professional statistician holding a BSc, MSc and PhD in statistics and is an honorary research fellow at the University of Glasgow’s School of Mathematics and Statistics.

Kirsteen HarrisonKirsteen HarrisonEnvironment & Sustainability Advisor, Zumo

Kirsteen is an established specialist in the development of net zero strategies. With an overarching interest in the role of organisational culture in enabling effective climate action, Kirsteen works with leaders to facilitate the mindset shift required for businesses to thrive in a net zero future. Kirsteen has developed a particular interest in blockchains and cryptocurrencies, both as part of the problem, and as part of the solution, and is Environmental Adviser to the Board at Zumo, and a freelance consultant. Having gained a Distinction in her Masters degree in Environmental Technology from Imperial College some 20 years ago, Kirsteen has since worked with organisations of all types and sizes, and works collaboratively to tackle sector-wide issues. She is a stubborn optimist with a fierce conviction that businesses should be a force for good.

Alisdair GunnAlisdair GunnDirector, Glasgow City Innovation District

Alisdair is recognised by his peers as one of Scotland’s prominent professional advisers amongst Scotland’s digital and technology sector. Alisdair leads the development of Glasgow City Innovation District – Scotland’s first Innovation District and is the founder of Framewire, Scotland’s first advisory practice dedicated to developing Scotland’s Digital and Tech Ecosystem. Alisdair is the co-founder of the internationally acclaimed Turing Festival and at the inaugural Scottish Tech Startup Awards was awarded the first Tech Ecosystem award where his peers recognised his expertise and commitment to developing Scotland’s Tech Ecosystem. Alisdair is an Independent Board Adviser to Barclays Eagle Labs and is a board advisor to Amiqus and VeryConnect and member of Johnston Carmichael’s Tech Advisory Board.

Dr Yingru LiDr Yingru LiSenior Lecturer, Accounting & Finance, University of Glasgow

With a concern for social justice and human rights, Yingru is interested in research that could have policy significance and impacts on the practice of corporate accountability for human rights and sustainable economy. In translating the theoretical concerns to the practice, she is closely engaged in projects that explore human rights issues in the corporate world and how to mobilize businesses to be “better” and more responsible. She also held the academic lead for Sustainable and Responsible Management of the business school, promoting and advocating for a sustainable learning experience for students, a sustainable workplace for academics and a sustainable impact and engagement with community.

Robin PetersRobin PetersCo-founder & CEO, Snugg
Sam FlemingSam FlemingCo-Founder & Head of Customer Success, Earthblox
Matthew WaldronMatthew WaldronDirector of Product Management & Sustainability Product Lead, Mastercard

Nicola is the CEO of FinTech Scotland. FinTech Scotland works across private, public and third sectors, and academia to enable economic growth and inclusion in the developing face of digital financial services.

Nicola is a business leader with experience across multiple sectors and supporting innovation, people development, building strategy, change management, understanding risk and financial services regulation.

She has considerable experience in financial services and prior to joining FinTech Scotland was a senior leader at the FCA, where she worked as part of the Retail Banking Supervision senior leadership team.

As the CEO of FinTech Scotland, she contributed to the development of solutions needed to address complex industry issues following the financial crisis. She has engaged with Boards and Executives at different retail banks on a number of significant business transformational changes and operational risk issues, often working in collaboration with other UK regulatory bodies.

Jules SalmondJules SalmondCEO, Ciendos

Jules is CEO and co-founder of CienDos – a climate-tech business, focussed on tracking, analysing and sharing corporate emissions data.  Alongside the day-to-day management and strategic direction of the business, Jules has a core focus on shaping the go to market proposition and engaging with corporate consumers of the CienDos dataset to understand their environmental and wider sustainability data needs.  Prior to founding CienDos in 2021, Jules co-founded Cerico, a world-leading SaaS Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) business.  Cerico was acquired by NewsCorp’s Dow Jones in 2018 where she led TPRM globally, overseeing 10x revenue growth and complex engagements with many of the world’s largest brands. She is a seasoned keynote speaker and published thought-leader on Climate-Tech & TPRM.

Katie SwansonKatie SwansonHead Of Credit Strategy, Atom Bank


Ian DaveyIan Davey


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