Race to Zero dialogues: IA’s zoom around the worldPosted 30th November 2020
The Investor Agenda was delighted to host discussions with institutional investors from around the world at a recent United Nations-convened Race to Zero November Dialogues Programme.
We always believe that the most powerful way to understand the impact that investors can have on tackling climate change is to hear it from the investors themselves.
‘’Zoom around the World’’
The Investor Agenda’s sessions at the UN-led Race to Zero Dialogues took a tour around five continents. We heard from leading investors from Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, India and the United States. In each country, investors are at a different stage in the journey to Net Zero but the direction of travel is the same.
“Earlier this year we published our carbon footprint report of our portfolio and we are very happy with the results as our portfolio is carbon negative.”
Fabio Alperowitch, Co-Founder, Fama Investimentos
Fabio is passionate about climate change and the special importance for Brazil given the great biodiversity in his country. He has built a portfolio which has already gone beyond the 2050 goal and is today below zero in terms of its carbon footprint. This is a remarkable achievement.
“What we wanted was to actually see, across different asset classes, how can we build targets, actions and methodologies which are practical, useful and which we could use in reality in our portfolios.”
Jon Johnsen, CEO of PKA
Over in Europe, Jon Johnsen, CEO of PKA, explained how his organisation has done a review of its full portfolio. PKA will be releasing in December a report on its net zero framework across equities, bonds and real estate, aligned with the Paris Agreement. Today 10% of PKA’s asset base is invested in green energy and it has set a target of $8 billion of green investments to make by 2025.
“Investors like CalPERS and CalSTRS continue to walk the talk on climate change and the new administration can build on investor actions to date with its policies.”
Betty Yee, California State Controller
Betty sits on the board of both CalPERS and CalSTRS. In California, CalPERS has done the analysis on how to determine the way for a viable net zero portfolio and will be setting targets for 2025. CalSTRS is also concluding a year-long review on transition readiness of its portfolio and developing a low carbon public equity index which will have a 70% lower exposure to carbon emissions.
“This is a very important and very ambitious target [China’s recent commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060], not only are we expecting a lot of policy changes… the expectation on the financial industry, on fund managers, will also change.”
Thomas Kwan, CIO, Harvest Global Investments
Thomas explained how ESG is a newer concept in China and Hong Kong but that he has been very focused on it in the last three years and can feel the momentum building strongly in the last few months. The industry is scaling up for change and company engagement is intensifying and Harvest is playing a leading role in that.
“Technology, regulation and investment are the supporting pillars to move forward on the low carbon trajectory.”
Navneet Munot, Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer, SBI Mutual Fund
Navneet explained how he sees his firm, the largest asset manager in India, as the “keystone species” in the Indian sustainable finance ecosystem through its stewardship, active engagement with companies and advocacy. He highlighted the importance of providing positive reinforcement to firms which are at an earlier stage on the low carbon journey.
“Without a doubt, climate change is one of the most significant risks and opportunities. It is a meta trend that all investors have to consider.”
Deanne Stewart, CEO, Aware Super
Deanne spoke to her focus this year on Aware Super’s transition plan, looking at what it can achieve by 2030 and sooner. She is trying to reduce carbon footprint in listed equities by over 30% in the next three years, to divest from coal and invest in renewables. She gave real world examples of company engagement on disclosure and specific actions with three of the heaviest carbon emitters in Australia, Origin Energy, AGL and Santos.
Whether it’s wildfires in California or bushfires in Australia, people around the world can see the effect of the climate crisis with their own eyes. The members of big pension funds like CalSTRS in the U.S. or Aware Super in Australia can see this and are making their voices heard. And they are showing great leadership in taking action both through their investments and through their own advocacy to governments and other stakeholders.
As a partnership drawing on the largest global investor networks, disclosure platforms and the United Nations, the Investor Agenda is proud to be working with these leaders in the investment community. In different regions, investors are working through many initiatives such as the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, the Science Based Targets initiative and the Paris Aligned Investment initiative. The Investor Agenda stands ready to help investors on their journey and to play their part in making net zero a reality.