The Global Green Finance Index (GGFI) is published every six months and ranks global financial centres according to the depth and quality of their green finance offerings.

Amsterdam and Copenhagen took first and and second place for ‘depth’ in the second edition of the index, pushing London into third place. However, in the ‘quality’ rankings, London retained its top spot while Paris moved up three places to second.

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In North America, Montreal came first for depth and San Francisco first for quality. Shanghai, Casablanca, São Paulo and Prague topped the rankings for both depth and quality in their regions.

Both the ‘depth’ and ‘quality’ rankings were dominated by European and North American centres. Indeed, the top five destinations for greenfield FDI into renewables are the US, the UK, India, Spain and France – based on project numbers since 2003 – according to fDi Markets.  

Professor Michael Mainelli, executive chairman of Z/Yen Group, said: “The leading centres in the index were generally rated higher for the quality of their green finance than they were for depth. This indicates both the scale of transition facing larger centres and the potential for smaller financial centres to advance through specialisation, a trend that is already playing out in the rankings.”

The GGFI’s biggest improvers were San Francisco, Toronto and Vienna, which moved up five or more places in the depth index. Munich, Copenhagen, Toronto and Madrid moved up five or more places for quality.

Paris, Frankfurt and Singapore led the centres most cited as likely to become more significant over the next two to three years.

Renewable energy investment, sustainable infrastructure finance and green bonds remained the areas of most interest, while there was increasing interest in fossil fuel disinvestment, carbon disclosure and green insurance.

The data suggests that leadership on quality of life issues may be an enabling factor for the growth of green finance. The index’s overall scores, however, show the proportion of financial markets that are ‘sustainable’ remains very low.

André Hoffmann, president of MAVA Fondation pour la Nature, said: “Financial centres are uniquely well placed to drive the changes in incentives and understanding needed to achieve sustainable economic transition. Today’s report underlines the strong support among market participants for policymakers to intervene, both to catalyse growth in this sector and to shape the financial system to support sustainability goals.”