Hutton puts focus on green finance with new appointment

Dr Umar Farooq (Hutton Institute)

GREEN finance and how it can drive environmental progress alongside economic interests is under the spotlight at The James Hutton Institute thanks to a newly created role.

The Green Finance Fellowship, awarded to new Hutton staff member Dr Umar Farooq and funded by The Macaulay Development Trust, will see research carried out into how finance can accelerate environmental and social sustainability.

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This will include evaluating the benefits of green finance and exploring innovative financial strategies that drive environmental and social progress while safeguarding economic interests.

Dr Farooq, who studied at the University of Strathclyde, as well as in China and Pakistan, his home country, has previously worked in both academia and business, including as a chief executive at an agri-tech start-up. He joins the Hutton in Aberdeen after working as an associate professor in business studies in Punjab, Pakistan. 

He says, “Green finance has taken centre stage globally, given the pressing environmental challenges like the climate crisis, resource scarcity and vanishing biodiversity. Our financial decisions now will wield unparalleled influence over our planet’s future. So understanding the ramifications of green finance is pivotal, as it’s the linchpin for a more sustainable, just and nature-focused economy.

“In my transition from over a decade in academia to my current role at the Hutton, my research focus has shifted from conventional finance to energy economics and green finance. This change has allowed me to bridge the gap between theory and real-world impact. 

“I’ve been fortunate to work with startups, where my business and finance background proved invaluable. Now, at the Hutton, I’m excited to apply this knowledge to create actionable strategies that contribute to a more sustainable financial and environmental future.”

Dr Farooq’s role in the Hutton’s social, economic and geographical sciences department, has been supported by a three-year fellowship award from The Macaulay Development Trust. The trust is a charity which supports research into sustainable use of land and natural resources, for the benefit of people, their communities and the environment.

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