The Great Investment Turnaround: how to finance a sustainable world economy — PIK Research Portal

07/20/2016

– Banks and insurers can play a crucial part in stabilizing the climate, while at the same time safeguarding their clients’ assets. Leading representatives of finance and climate research will discuss the best strategies for a turnaround in investing this Thursday in Berlin. The event is hosted by the Swiss global bank UBS, the French multinational insurance firm AXA, CDP, the European innovation initiative Climate-KIC, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Divestment – the diversion of capital from fossil fuel industries to green innovation and sustainable businesses – is a new approach to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, which could turn out to be a global “game changer”.

Already today, investments of billions of Euros are being redirected. Pioneered by students of wealthy US universities, divestment has reached financial big shots like Allianz by now: the financial services company announced its intention to divest from its assets in coal mining. The foundation of the legendary US oil dynasty Rockefeller plans to divest their funds from the fossil fuel industry as well.

“The risks of climate change affect everyone and everything. When the finance sector now divests billions from the fossil business, this does not only reflect a moral responsibility but also makes good business sense,” says PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, co-initiator of the conference. “While weather extremes increase already, many of the biggest climate impacts, like the consequences of sea-level rise, will become perceptible only after it would be too late to act. Therefore it is important for the finance sector to recognize the warnings of science and to ramp up sustainable investments as soon as possible. The Paris Agreement substantiates that the nations of the world aim at reaching zero emissions by 2050. This means we are now in year one of the Great Transformation. Whoever still invests in coal and oil will not only damage the environment, but eventually also lose a lot of money.”

“Recognize the possible economic and social impacts of climate change”

„As a global bank it is of major importance to recognize the possible economic and social impacts of climate change, in order to better prepare us and our clients,” says Axel Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS Group AG. “The financial sector is working hard to lay the foundations for filling gaps in financing climate action and to support nations in delivering on their corresponding commitments. We aim for a sensible long-term allocation of capital that is congruent with a low-carbon economy.”

Christian Thimann, Global Head of Strategy, Sustainability, and Public Affairs at AXA Group and Vice-Chair of the FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, says: “Finance has an important role in addressing climate change, because it steers long-term investment. Investors need to understand how companies address climate change in their strategies, which goes well beyond the current carbon footprint. Under the mandate of the G20 and the Financial Stability Board, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure seeks to develop consistent voluntary disclosures by companies and enhance investor understanding of climate-related business risks and opportunities. Such disclosures and better investor understanding will foster implementation of the COP21 agreement.”

„Divestment is one of the most potent signals of investor discontent”

Susan Dreyer, CDP Country Director Germany, Austria, Switzerland adds: „Divestment is one of the most potent signals of investor discontent and can be a valuable method to manage portfolio risk, given climate risks are becoming more urgent every day. Having built a platform for transparent and comparable climate strategies, into which 5600 companies worldwide are voluntary reporting today, CDP knows of the impact investor engagement can unfold. Shareholder resolutions or setting joint reduction targets are good examples. And yet, the clear signal from both civil society and investors that fossil based business models do not have a future in the decarbonized world of 2050, is helpful and needed.”

Source: The Great Investment Turnaround: how to finance a sustainable world economy — PIK Research Portal

Climate change fails to top list of threats for business leaders at Davos | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

The high profile UN summit on climate change in Paris appears to have had little impact on the decision making and worries of global business leaders. Despite concerns about its impact on extreme weather events, such as recent flooding in the UK, climate change failed to register near the top of the list of business threats, according to a survey of 1,400 CEOs from around the world compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and published at Davos this week. Davos 2016: worries mount for world’s business leaders Read more Instead, over-regulation was listed as the biggest threat to business (by 79% of CEOs), followed by geopolitical uncertainty (74%) and other key threats including cyber attacks (61%). In contrast, climate change and environmental damage was mentioned as a threat to business growth by just 50% of CEOs. The findings were similar to a separate survey of 13,000 business leaders produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF). It also found a relative absence of concern about climate change and environmental risk amongst business leaders. Business leaders from developed countries listed fiscal crisis and cyber-attacks as their biggest concerns, while in emerging and developing economies the biggest concern was unemployment, underemployment and energy price shocks. “No executive considers failure of climate mitigation and adaptation as the number one risk for doing business in his/her country,” states the report. By contrast, a wider survey of economists, academics and civil society also produced by the WEF listed climate change as the biggest potential threat to the global economy in 2016. A failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation was seen as likely to have a bigger impact than the spread of weapons of mass destruction, water crises, mass involuntary migration and a severe energy price shock. PwC suggested that contrary to its findings CEOs were concerned about the impact of climate change. “We don’t believe a low score in one question reflects overall thinking and action on it,” a spokesperson told the Guardian. “A quarter of all CEOs included ‘reduced environmental impacts’ in the three outcomes that should be joint government and business priorities in the countries in which they are based… and they are showing greater understanding of environmental impacts in their business and supply chain.” PwC said the results from this year’s survey also revealed a higher level of concern of climate change amongst CEOs than they did after the UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen in 2009 (50% vs 37%).

read more… Climate change fails to top list of threats for business leaders at Davos | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian