Oxford University & Bank of America tackle sustainability in financial services

Bank of America has pledged £1.2 million to the University of Oxford to support greenhouse gas and sustainable finance research at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. This research will help inform decisions made in the financial services sector, and ensure business models are scalable and sustainable.

This is the first partnership of its kind for Bank of America in Europe and marks the beginning of a key collaboration with the Smith School. The funding will support three years of research in the two core areas, but also provide funding for a Director’s Research fund so that the School can look at ground-breaking, but otherwise unfunded, sustainable research opportunities.

One team of researchers will be based at the Greenhouse Gas Removal Hub (CO₂RE), focusing on taking greenhouse gases out of the air in ways that are economically, socially, and environmentally scalable. This research hub is an Oxford-led consortium directed by Dr Stephen Smith.

The other research team will be based at the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group at the Smith School and the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI). They will focus on spatial finance and the integration of nature-related factors into financial decision-making. The Group and CGFI are both led by Dr Ben Caldecott, an expert in sustainable finance, specialising in environment, energy, and sustainability.

Bernard Mensah, President of International at Bank of America, said: “We are delighted to be able to help advance research with the potential to unlock completely new information and ideas that could help financial institutions and their clients attain a sustainable trajectory by 2030.”

The Smith School’s capacity to drive systemic change in environmental challenges was recognised in 2021 with significant wins of governmental backing to CO₂RE and CGFI, where the research posts will be based. To date the School has worked with 20 different governments around the world on their green recovery plans and its research directly informs global financial institutions worldwide.

Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, added: “We are delighted to partner with Bank of America in these two research partnerships. We are also hugely grateful for their gift to the University. This partnership will enable us to expand Smith School research in sustainable finance and greenhouse gas removal, both of which are critical as we move from an era of climate change debate, to one of action.”


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