THE RESPONSE FROM THE FINANCIAL SECTOR
The Hutton Series on Climate Change is a series of events taking place across 2020-21 at Adam Smith’s Panmure House, bringing together a diverse cross-section of experts, business leaders, scientists, and concerned citizens in the service of one simple aim:
to identify ten key priorities, innovations & actions to mitigate the climate crisis.
Our keynote speakers for this second session were Keith Skeoch, Chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute, and Kirsty Hamilton, former Director of the Low Carbon Finance Group. Each led a keynote for 5 minutes, before taking questions and participating in a debate panel, led by Professor Heather McGregor (Executive Dean, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University). Our speakers were joined by Willie Watt of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) and Professor John Ludden CBE of Heriot-Watt University to debate and discuss key financial ramifications of climate change.
The Keynote Speakers
Kirsty has three decades of international policy experience and leadership in tackling climate change and accelerating the energy transition working with investors. Returning to the UK, in 2004 she set up an initiative to bridge between leading financiers and policy counterparts on ‘investment grade’ policy for renewable energy, through an affiliation with Chatham House. This led to the establishment in 2010 of the first-of-kind Low Carbon Finance Group founded by senior finance practitioners - Kirsty led its extensive involvement in UK electricity market reform process as well as key EU developments and international fora.
She has held several invited international roles including at the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the World Economic Forum and is an expert reviewer and contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as observer at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since the early 1990s.
Recent Advisory work includes Specialist Advisor to the 2019 Parliamentary Inquiry into Financing Energy Infrastructure and a senior policy advisor to a leading energy storage investor. She is currently a co-lead for UK Energy Research Centre funded work on Energy Transition Investment and in mid-2020 was seconded to be an Advisor to the UK’s COP26 Energy Transition team, on its private investment work.
Keith Skeoch is currently Chair of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute, Interim Chair of the Financial Reporting Council, Chair of the Investment Association and a member of the UK Takeover Panel. Keith joined Standard Life Investments in 1999 as Chief Investment Officer and was appointed Chief Executive of that division in 2004 and to the main board of Standard Life plc following demutualisation in 2006. Keith led the exponential growth of Standard Life Investments in terms of assets under management, geographic footprint, revenue stream, organisational capability and brand strength. He was appointed CEO of Standard Life plc in 2015 and then as CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen having led the separation of the life business to Phoenix in 2018 and the subsequent formation of a global, focussed and capital light investment house. Keith stepped down as CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen in September 2020.Keith Skeoch LinkedIn
Prof. John Ludden
Professor John Ludden CBE is Bicentennial Research Professor at Heriot-Watt University, following 13 years as Executive Director of the British Geological Survey. Drawing on his extensive experience as an international leader in the earth and environment sector, this Professorship focusses on science governance and diplomacy, with a remit to develop links across disciplines and to strengthen communication with the public and policy makers. Working within the Lyell Centre and associated with the Institute for Geoenergy Engineering (IGE), John is also developing an energy testbed in Krafla, Iceland at the interface of molten rock within the earth’s crust. John has held numerous science leadership posts in the UK, France and Canada in the Earth and Environmental sector with a focus on resource development. He has worked as a professor and research scientist at the French National Research Centre (CNRS), where he was its associate director for Earth Sciences, at the University of Montreal, Columbia University and with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the USA.John Ludden CBE LinkedIn
Willie Watt was appointed Chair-designate of the Scottish National Investment Bank in November 2019. Previously, he served as Chair and as CEO of Martin Currie, a specialist international public equities investment firm based in Edinburgh, between 2001 and 2019. During his time as Chair, Martin Currie received an A+ from the Principles for Responsible Investment Association for its overarching approach to ESG having been a signatory to the PRI since 2009.
Prior to his time with Martin Currie, Willie spent 16 years with the 3i Group, latterly as Managing Director of its Scottish business. He ran specialist venture, buy out and energy investment teams. Willie is also a Board Member of National Galleries Scotland. He is a member of the advisory board of Scottish Equity Partners. He studied at the University of Aberdeen, reading for a Master of Arts in Geography.