Nick Robins

Professor in Practice - Sustainable Finance

Nick joined the Grantham Research Institute in February 2018 as Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance. Nick leads the sustainable finance research theme. The focus of his work is on how to mobilise finance for a just transition, the role of central banks and regulators in achieving sustainable development and how the financial system can support the restoration of nature.


From 2014 to 2018, Nick was co-director of UN Environment’s Inquiry into a Sustainable Finance System. As part of this, Nick led country activities in Brazil, the EU, India, Italy and the UK, as well as thematic work focused on investors, insurance and green banking.

Before joining UNEP, he was Head of the Climate Change Centre of Excellence at HSBC. Prior to HSBC, Nick was head of Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) funds at Henderson Global Investors. Nick has also worked at the International Institute for Environment and Development, the European Commission and the Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Nick has a BA in History from Cambridge University and an MSc in International Relations from LSE.

Policy publications  4 March, 2020

Delivering strong and sustainable growth in the UK: A special decade for innovation and investment

In advance of the Budget, this policy report highlights areas of the UK economy where the public sector could leverage private investment and in so doing contribute to achieving the strategic priorities of regionally balanced growth and decarbonisation. read more »

Policy publications  5 February, 2020

The sovereign transition to sustainability: Understanding the dependence of sovereign debt on nature

The transition to sustainability is the strategic challenge sovereign bonds face in the 2020s. Overcoming this challenge requires that the financial system recognises the fundamental economic dependencies on nature, which … read more »


Policy publications  10 December, 2019

Building a sustainable financial system: the state of practice and future priorities

This paper charts the rise of central bank and supervisor action on climate change and wider sustainability issues, analyses the key features of the 'new normal' and highlights priority themes for policy and research in the years ahead. read more »

Policy publications  13 November, 2019

Submission to call for evidence: Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity

This paper was submitted to the Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity – Call for Evidence, an independent global review to assess the economic value of biodiversity and to identify actions that will enhance biodiversity and deliver economic prosperity. read more »

Policy publications  14 October, 2019

Banking the just transition in the UK

This policy insight looks at looks at the contribution the banking sector can make to ensuring that a just transition happens in the UK, under the Government's commitment to a net-zero-carbon economy by 2050. read more »

Policy publications  1 October, 2019

Financing inclusive climate action in the UK: An investor roadmap for the just transition

This report sets out the role that investors can play in delivering a just transition in the UK as the country works towards net-zero emissions, illustrating the implications through a set of place-based examples from Yorkshire and the Humber and setting out recommendations for investor action. read more »

Policy publications  20 September, 2019

Decarbonisation of the UK economy and green finance

The Grantham Research Institute’s response to the Commons Select Committee inquiry into decarbonisation of the UK economy highlights the Treasury’s unique position in government to drive the transition towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining a focus on economic growth. read more »

Policy publications  13 June, 2019

Unlocking the strategic economic opportunity of clean and inclusive growth

Chapter in the Banque De France’s Financial Stability Review no. 23 – June 2019. read more »

Policy publications  14 March, 2019

El cambio climático y la transición justa: Guía para la toma de decisiones de los inversores

En esta guía se indica cómo los inversores pueden alcanzar el objetivo de una transición justa en el marco de sus prácticas operativas fundamentales. (Spanish translation of ‘Climate change and the just transition: A guide for investor action’.) read more »

Policy publications  14 March, 2019

Changement climatique et transition juste: Guide pour orienter l’action des investisseurs

Ce guide présente les leviers d’action dont disposent les investisseurs en vue de poursuivre l’objectif d’une transition juste dans le cadre de leurs pratiques opérationnelles. (French translation of 'Climate change and the just transition: A guide for investor action'.) read more »

Policy publications  4 February, 2019

Investing in a just transition in the UK: How investors can integrate social impact and place-based financing into climate strategies

In the first report from the Investing in a Just Transition UK project, the authors explore the extent of the challenge to ensure that action on climate change supports an inclusive economy in the UK, efforts that are already underway, and what actions investors can take. It includes a regional case study of Yorkshire and the Humber. read more »


Policy publications  6 December, 2018

Climate change and the just transition - A guide for investor action

A ‘just transition’ for workers and communities as the world’s economy responds to climate change was included within the Paris Agreement. This guide sets out how investors can address the social dimension of climate change and pursue the goal of a just transition as part of their core operating practices. read more »

Policy publications  1 June, 2018

Investing in a just transition: Why investors need to integrate a social dimension into their climate strategies and how they could take action

This discussion paper explores why investors should contribute to the ‘just transition’ as the world’s economy decarbonises, and how they can do so. It is the first output of the … read more »

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Commentary  26 February, 2020

Time for finance to turn down the heat

As the financial system gears up for the COP26 UN climate summit in November, leaders of financial institutions will need to know the answer to two questions: what is your temperature score and how will you bring it down to 1.5°C as soon as possible? Nick Robins looks at the progress being made. read more »

In the news  12 February, 2020

Sovereign debt funds be warned: climate activists are coming

Article makes reference to a report by the Grantham Research Institute and Planet Tracker which says that countries need to protect their natural capital or face increased sovereign credit risk. read more »

Commentary  20 January, 2020

Why governments need to issue just transition sovereign bonds and how they could do it

It is clear that 2020 has to be the year when the global financial system makes the irreversible shift towards alignment with climate security and sustainable development. One of the … read more »


Commentary  19 December, 2019

Uniting the nation through climate action: Why the just transition could be the next big thing for Britain

This commentary describes five priorities to turn the goal of a just transition into practical policy in the UK following the general election and as the country plans to leave the EU and prepares to host 2020’s UN climate conference. read more »

Commentary  4 November, 2019

Why the fate of the Amazon is a growing issue for investors in sovereign bonds

Investors are demanding that companies disclose and implement zero deforestation policies. This commentary outlines three further steps sovereign investors can take. read more »

Commentary  24 October, 2019

How Scotland can mobilise finance for a just transition

Scotland is targeting a net-zero transition that is inclusive and fair. Here, the authors report from a recent gathering of finance and government stakeholders in Edinburgh that explored how finance can be mobilised as part of the just transition. read more »

In the news  6 September, 2019

Letter: Central bank policy must align with climate goals

Responding to a comment by BlackRock vice-chairman Philipp Hildebrand, Nick Robins wrote to the Financial Times on Friday calling for any direct creation of central bank money to be “tightly aligned with global climate change goals”. read more »

Commentary  1 July, 2019

When money speaks the language of justice: investors, banks and the just transition

Nick Robins explores how UK banks and investors are starting to get behind the just transition that is needed for the country to reach its new net-zero target. read more »

Commentary  3 June, 2019

The ‘Climate Spring’ of 2019: what it means for finance

Nick Robins explores what the recent upsurge in commitment to a net-zero economy could mean for Europe’s financial system. read more »

Commentary  11 April, 2019

Building the research foundations for greening the financial system

As recognition grows rapidly among central banks of the need for routine consideration of climate change risks, robust research is required to guide and underpin their actions. Nick Robins and Matthias Täger introduce a new global research network designed to build these foundations. read more »

Commentary  9 January, 2019

Sustainable finance in troubling times: five actions to prevent market turbulence turning into a crisis

Sustainable finance ended 2018 on a high. Never before has so much capital been committed to integrating environmental, social and governance factors. But financial markets also entered an unnerving cycle. If we are not careful, growing financial turbulence could divert attention away from the urgent need to scale up investment in climate action and sustainable development, writes Nick Robins. read more »


Commentary  17 December, 2018

The just transition comes of age

Monday 3 December 2018 was the date when the ‘just transition’ emerged onto the global policy scene as a geopolitical priority. On the opening day of the COP24 UN Climate … read more »

Commentary  6 November, 2018

Financing the climate change triple jump: how to align capital with a 1.5°C world

The global financial system needs to undertake its own transition, to play its role in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. Nick Robins identifies three ‘leaps’ for banks, capital markets, insurers and investors to take. read more »

Commentary  5 November, 2018

Where next for sustainable insurance? Five priorities for the next decade

This commentary reviews how both the insurance sector and its partners could build on the growing momentum and overcome the continuing barriers to deep implementation of sustainable insurance practices over the coming decade. read more »

Commentary  4 October, 2018

Financing the transition: how investors can help make climate action inclusive

Partners from the Investing in a Just Transition project explain the arguments for an equitable low-carbon transition and report on important progress that is being made. read more »

Commentary  24 September, 2018

Making finance climate-consistent: how could the UK implement Article 2.1.c of the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement does not just commit countries to cut emissions. All countries also need to put in place a policy framework for climate-consistent finance. Nick Robins argues that the UK could take a leadership position by setting out how this complex task could be achieved. read more »

Commentary  9 August, 2018

The just transition: the emerging agenda for Europe’s investors

2018 is turning out to be the year of the “just transition”. In December, the UN’s annual climate conference, COP24, will be held in Katowice in the heart of Silesia’s … read more »

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Public Lectures 3 Mar 2020

Financing a Global Climate Deal

This event brings together leaders in sustainable finance who will explore how key financial breakthroughs can be achieved in 2020. read more »


Book Launch, Seminars 1 Oct 2019

The Financing a Just Transition Roadmap for Investor Action in the UK - Launch

The just transition has become a recognised priority in the UK. However, there remains little experience of what it means in operational terms for investors. This event launches a report … read more »

Seminars 10 Jul 2019

Professor Dirk Schoenmaker on the principles of sustainable finance

Professor Shoenmaker is Professor of Banking and Finance at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam and is also a non-Resident Fellow at the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel and … read more »

Seminars 3 Jul 2019

Financing an Inclusive and Just Transition to a Net Zero Economy

This event, being held as part of as part of London Climate Action Week, will seek to address the issue of how finance can accelerate positive change on climate action in the real economy. read more »

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