Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment Announces Collaboration with Bank of America

Published 
  • Bank of America pledges £1.2m to the University of Oxford to support ground-breaking greenhouse gas removal and sustainable finance research at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
  • The collaboration will support 3 years of research focussed on 2 key areas and will also support a Director’s Research fund, that will enable the School to seize pioneering sustainable research opportunities.
  • The 2 Research areas are i) the integration of nature-related factors and the use of climate and environmental data into financial decision-making ii) identifying greenhouse gas removal solutions working with the Greenhouse Gas Removal Hub (CO₂RE).

In this unique partnership and commitment to combatting climate change, 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 inform key decisions made in the financial services sector and offer implementable and equitable interventions to 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 partnership with the Smith School. The funding will not only support 3 years of cutting edge research in the two core areas of focus, but will also provide funding for a Director’s Research fund that will enable the School to seize ground-breaking, but otherwise unfunded sustainable research opportunities.

One team of researchers will be based at the Greenhouse Gas Removal Hub (CO₂RE), focussing on taking greenhouse gases back 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 both 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 individual who has transformed the sustainable finance space, specialising in environment, energy, and sustainability issues, working at the intersection between finance, public policy, and academia.

Bernard Mensah, President of international at Bank of America said: “Successful partnerships between business, academia and governments are critical if we are to accelerate the transition to sustainable, secure and affordable energy and bring forward the path to net zero. With the support of Bank of America, the work of the Oxford Smith School now has the potential to transform scalable carbon capture and greenhouse gas removal and also the integration of nature-based metrics into sustainable finance frameworks.

“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 actively addressing environmental challenges was recognised in 2021 with significant wins of governmental backing to CO₂RE and CGFI, where these research posts will be based. A world class, global institution with huge international networks and convening power. 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, comments: “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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