5 reasons why investors are turning to ICAPs


Taking a first step on a climate journey can be challenging to navigate, regardless of what business, industry or sector you are in. When it comes to investors, many are turning to Investor Climate Action Plans (ICAPs) to help them map out their transition, whether they’re just starting out or they’re a pioneer in the space. 

Introduction to ICAPs

In May 2021, the seven Founding Partners of the Investor Agenda – AIGCC, CDP, Ceres, IGCC, IIGCC, PRI, and UNEP FI – released the ICAPs Expectation Ladder and Guidance. At their core, the ICAPs Ladder and Guidance are a ready-made framework to encourage investor action across four key focus areas: investment, corporate engagement, policy advocacy and investor disclosure, with governance as a crosscutting theme across all areas. These ICAPs resources are also available translated into French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese and Spanish to cater for investors around the world. 

The ICAPs Expectations Ladder details specific climate actions investors can take into ascending tiers of ambition – from Tier 4 for those just starting out, to Tier 1 for those leading on investor climate transition. The ICAPs Guidance is designed to share resources for investors to enable investors to strengthen their approach and progress along the Tiers. Together, the ICAPs Expectation Ladder and Guidance provide investors with clear steps they can take to support the global goal of achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 or sooner.     

So, why should investors use the ICAPs framework? Here are five reasons:

1. Designed for inclusion 

The ICAPs framework sets out clear pathways for investors – regardless of where they currently are on their climate journey. This means whether you are an investor just starting to integrate climate risk or an industry leader that has been on the journey for years – there’s a Tier for you. 

2. Built for investors 

The ICAPs Expectations Ladder and Guidance are the only tools that have been designed specifically for investors to provide step-by-step assistance on climate change. While complementary to other broader climate guidance, such as Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) Transition Plan Guidance, designed for the entire finance sector, and the Net Zero Investment Framework designed to support investors who have made a commitment to a net zero alliance, the ICAPs Expectations Ladder and Guidance were created to address the broad range of investors’ needs and concerns.

      • Find out more about the links between the Investor Agenda and GFANZ in this webinar.

3. Seamless industry integration 

Many investors have already made climate commitments, including hundreds of investors who committed to align their investments with net zero emissions, through the Paris Aligned Asset Owners, the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance, and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. Investors can have peace of mind that these commitments seamlessly integrate when developing and publishing ICAPs, because these initiatives are run by the Founding Partners of the Investor Agenda.  

4. Forward-looking focus 

Climate action plans, like ICAPs, look at climate risks more holistically while incorporating the fundamental principles of transition plans, including their forward-looking focus. This provides more adaptability and continuity for investors – particularly as emerging climate issues (such as adaptation, nature & biodiversity, and resilience) continue to develop and play a more focal role in policy and board-level discussions.  

5. Established & trusted 

Investors from around the world are already using the ICAPs Expectations Ladder and Guidance to develop and publish ICAPs. The Founding Partners of the Investor Agenda have published a set of case studies to highlight the best elements of some of those ICAPs. The Founding Partners remain committed to supporting investors on their journey by sharing the latest resources and guidance and assessing and updating the ICAPs framework as needed. Investors have the assurance that ICAPs are aligned to established industry best practice and recognized by policymakers around the world.  

Watch this space for the latest ICAPs resources and case studies, or find out more about ICAPs today here!