UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP hosts dialogue exploring how public banks can accelerate decarbonisation

25 July 2022

On 21 July 2022, IIPP hosted a private event with 12 global public banks exploring how they can be most effectively designed and governed to accelerate a just, global transition to net zero.

Montreal Bank

Part of the The Rockefeller Foundation’s Future of Institutions Dialogue Series and hosted by IIPP’s expert researchers and faculty, the dialogue brought together senior representatives from 12 public banks from around the world to share practice and challenges in addressing this great transformation.

Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 more than 130 countries have embraced net zero targets. Decarbonising the global economy will involve investing across multiple sectors on a large scale, often in areas of high uncertainty. It has been estimated that the world must invest $5 trillion per year for the next 30 years if global emissions targets are to be reached.

Around the world public banks – including multilateral development banks, national investment banks and state level banks – deploy many billions of dollars of capital each year. Because of their distinct design and governance features, they are able to supply the kind of long-term, patient, strategic finance that the private sector is often unwilling to provide.

Many existing public banks are currently exploring how they can most effectively contribute to decarbonisation and net zero targets, and in recent years new public banks have been created to accelerate the green transition.  This dialogue brought together a number of these public banks to discuss about IIPP’s expert research findings in this space and to share the challenges and opportunities they collectively face in catalysing this transformation.

Questions the Dialogue explored included: what are the key design features of public banks that can enable them to play a transformative role tackling the climate crisis? How can investment portfolios be structured to balance risks and rewards when financing ambitious solutions that accelerate decarbonization? How can public banks ensure that no one is left behind in the transition to net zero?

Nora Clinton, IIPP Head of the Mission-Oriented Network (MOIN), welcomed the workshop:

“The Mission-Oriented Innovation Network is a peer-learning platform for public sector organisations to share the challenges and opportunities they face when tackling the grand challenges we face. Public banks are a vital but often under-discussed institution that can play a transformative and catalytic role in addressing major global challenges, notably climate change. In hosting this Dialogue we hope to launch a valuable MOIN forum for public banks to learn from each other's experiences in financing transformative decarbonisation; generate valuable insights on public bank design and governance; and identify opportunities for future collaboration and shared-learning. In convening this initiative, IIPP is delighted to be building on and creating a community of practice around our global work on public banks’

More information about The Rockefeller Foundation’s Future of Institutions Dialogue series can be found on their website. If you would like to learn more about IIPP’s work on public banks and patient finance, visit our research page. If your organisation would like to become part of MOIN, please contact n.clinton@ucl.ac.uk