Ben Caldecott

Founding Director, Oxford Sustainable Finance Group, University of Oxford

Dr Ben Caldecott specialises in environment, energy, and sustainability issues and works at the intersection between finance, public policy, and academe, having held senior roles in each domain. Ben is the founding Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group at the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. At the University of Oxford, he is the inaugural Lombard Odier Associate Professor of Sustainable Finance, the first ever endowed professorship of sustainable finance, and a Supernumerary Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford. Ben is also the founding Director and Principal Investigator of the UK Centre for Greening Finance & Investment (CGFI), established by UK Research and Innovation in 2021 as the national centre to accelerate the adoption and use of climate and environmental data and analytics by financial institutions internationally. He is a Visiting Professor at the Wealth Management Institute in Singapore.

Ben has authored and edited a substantial number of publications related to sustainability and is an experienced media commentator and public speaker. His expertise and expert evidence have been recognised in high profile legal cases, including in the Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of England and Wales. He is a regular peer reviewer and has a number of trustee, board, and advisory panel appointments, including serving as a Trustee of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and on the UK Climate Change Committee’s Adaptation Committee, as well as on DBS Bank’s Board Sustainability Committee, UK Export Finance’s Export Guarantees Advisory Council, and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) Technical Council.
He has conceived and initiated a series of successful organisations, initiatives, and programmes related to sustainable finance. Ben founded and served for six years as the inaugural Co-Chair of the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment (GRASFI), an alliance of global research universities promoting rigorous and impactful academic research on sustainable finance. He is Chair of the Judging Panel for the annual Insight Investment – University of Oxford Prize for Greening Finance, endowed in perpetuity to celebrate, showcase, and financially reward world-leading research and public service to green the global financial system. He established and leads the Sustainable Finance Theme at The Alan Turing Institute and initiated the Spatial Finance Initiative, which aims to mainstream geospatial capabilities enabled by space technology and data science into financial decision-making globally. He co-founded and serves on the board of the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative (CCLI), which is examining the legal basis for directors and trustees to consider, manage, and report on climate-related risk, and the circumstances in which they may be liable for failing to do so. He established and is the Faculty Chair of the Public and Third Sector Academy for Sustainable Finance (P3SA) at the University of Oxford, a global centre of learning on sustainable finance for the public and third sectors. Ben is also a Co-Director for the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery where he leads its work on finance.

Ben is Co-Head of the Secretariat for the high-level Transition Plan Taskforce established by HM Treasury in 2022. From 2019, he was seconded part-time to the UK Cabinet Office for two years to work on COP26 in Glasgow as the COP26 Strategy Advisor for Finance. He has also served on the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee, the UK Government’s Green Technical Advisory Group, and in his capacity as a Member of the UK Green Finance Taskforce, chaired its Workstream on Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Implementation. He serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Sustainable Tourism.

Ben is an advisor to financial institutions across different parts of the financial system internationally, including as a Senior Advisor at Global Infrastructure Partners and by serving on Neuberger Berman’s ESG Advisory Council, Columbia Threadneedle Investments’ Responsible Investment Advisory Council, ATLAS Infrastructure Partners’ Climate Advisory Board, and Climate Impact X’s International Advisory Council. 

Ben teaches and supervises a wide range of students at the University of Oxford and beyond. In addition to supervising Ph.D./D.Phil. students, he established and leads B.A., M.Sc., and M.Phil. options and electives on finance and sustainability. He is an experienced lecturer and tutor and has created and course directs a number of executive education courses at Oxford each year, including the Sustainable Finance Executive Programme. He contributes to training and capacity building across different finance professions internationally, including as the Academic Advisor to the CFA UK Certificate in Climate and Investing and as lead author of the Global Association of Risk Professional’s Sustainability and Climate Risk Certificate textbook. He has previously served as an Academic Associate at the Chartered Banker Institute and on the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ ESG Investment Working Party. He serves on the judging panel for the annual Banque de France Prize for Young Researchers in Green Finance and has done so since its creation in 2018.

Prior to joining the University of Oxford, he was a Vice President at investment bank Climate Change Capital, one of the early leading asset management and advisory firms focused on the net zero carbon transition, where he ran the firm’s research centre and advised clients and funds on the development of policy-driven markets. Ben has previously worked as Research Director for Environment and Energy at the think tank Policy Exchange; as Head of Government Advisory at Bloomberg New Energy Finance; as a Director in the Strategy Directorate of the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (on secondment); as a Deputy Director in the Strategy Directorate of the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (on secondment); as an Advisor to The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit; as Sherpa to the UK Green Investment Bank Commission; and as the Senior Advisor to the Chair and CEO of the UK Green Finance Institute. He also served as a Trustee of the Green Alliance from 2010 to 2022.

Ben holds a doctorate in economic geography from the University of Oxford. He initially read economics and specialised in development and China at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the University of Cambridge. He has been an Academic Visitor at the Bank of England, a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and Peking University, and held Visiting Fellowships at the University of Oxford, the University of Sydney, and the University of Melbourne. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment. Ben is also a Senior Fellow at the Oxford Martin School, a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Payne Institute for Earth Resources at the Colorado School of Mines.

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