Major institutional investors and leading investor groups issue urgent plea for a stronger US infrastructure bill that matches the scale and urgency of the climate crisis
15 July 2021
- Call for large-scale mobilization of capital and $2.5 trillion in capital investment into energy supply, industry, buildings, and vehicles over the next decade.
- Warn that failure to pass a comprehensive bill with strong measures would hurt US efforts to rally global climate policy action in the run-up to COP26.
Major US institutional investors, along with the CEOs of leading investor groups, are calling for a broader and bolder bipartisan federal infrastructure package that will better support the just and inclusive transition to a net zero emissions future. Failing to take the appropriate and urgent decisive policy action will further exacerbate the systemic financial and economic risks posed by the climate crisis and prove to be far more costly for investors and governments in the long-term, according to a statement published today.
The statement, The Investor Agenda Founding Partners’ Statement to US Policymakers on Infrastructure, urges the US Congress to support a multi-faceted infrastructure package as they approach the reconciliation process that calls for immediate, large-scale mobilization of capital and policy and societal commitments, including as much as $2.5 trillion in additional capital investment into energy supply, industry, buildings, and vehicles over the next decade.
The CEO signatories — Paul Simpson of CDP, Mindy Lubber of Ceres, and Fiona Reynolds of PRI — lead organizations with investor signatories that represent tens of trillions of assets under management. Through The Investor Agenda, of which these three organizations are Founding Partners, the CEOs are focused on mobilizing investors to drive climate action to support the goals of the Paris Agreement. The executives warn that failure to pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill with strong climate-focused and environmental justice measures would hurt US efforts to rally global climate policy action in the run-up to COP26 in November.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan deal was reached that included $15 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure, significant new investments for public transit and intercity rail, and new funding to modernize the electric grid. But the CEOs are calling for an infrastructure package that includes more “visionary climate policies matching the scale and urgency of the systemic and economic risks that lie ahead,” as the statement writes.
Paul Simpson, CDP CEO, and member of the Investor Agenda Steering Committee, said: ‘’In the run up to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, the time is now for US policymakers to take bold action on global climate policy. The investors we represent are calling for an infrastructure bill that includes strong climate-focused and environmental justice measures – compatible with limiting average global temperature increase to no more than 1.5ºC by 2050. Investors stand ready to help finance the shift to a just and inclusive net zero economy.”
Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President, and member of the Investor Agenda Steering Committee, said: “The federal infrastructure bill represents a huge opportunity for catalyzing private sector investment in resilient and sustainable solutions that will help accelerate the just and inclusive transition to a net zero future. We cannot grow the US economy on crumbling roads and transit systems nor on outmoded systems of fossil fuel subsidies that exacerbate the climate crisis particularly for those already disproportionately affected by climate disasters. Investors understand that a strong infrastructure bill is necessary for building a just and inclusive Paris-aligned economy and restoring US competitiveness around the world.”
Fiona Reynolds, PRI CEO, and member of the Investor Agenda Steering Committee, said: “The US must seize this historic opportunity to enact a bold infrastructure package that will deliver a just and inclusive transition, create jobs and set the country on a clear path to a net-zero emissions economy, and position the country as a global leader ahead of the COP26 summit in November. Decisive policy action now to create clean infrastructure will have both economic and societal benefits – generating a need for both financing and investable opportunities aligned with net-zero.”
The CEOs say key tenets of a strong infrastructure package would include measures focused on clean electricity, green jobs and innovation, clean transportation, environment justice, and sustainable buildings, housing and water utilities. Read the full statement for more details.
CDP, Ceres, and PRI make up the US Country Policy Group within The Investor Agenda. Several major US investors welcomed the CEO statement and offered supportive comments.
Thomas P. DiNapoli, Comptroller of New York State, said: “The US Congress stands at a crossroads on infrastructure. Where we stand today, we are not making investments to clean up our electric grid, we fail to lead in electric vehicle deployment and technology, we allow concerns over outmoded industries to stall progress and let other nations lead and profit from the growing clean energy economy. A smarter path leads to growing prosperity for all Americans with the US leading the way to a global clean energy future. Investors stand to significantly benefit from these investments, which will provide the foundation for economic success in the coming net zero economy. I strongly urge our congressional leaders to chart a course that will help the US lead in the creation of a cleaner future.”
Julie Gorte, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Investing, Impax Asset Management, said: “Infrastructure is the stuff that makes everything else work. It will work best if it’s clean, low-impact, and net zero carbon, and supports good jobs and civil society. We endorse this call to take an expansive view of the importance of strong infrastructure as an essential part of the transition to a more sustainable economy.”
Kirsty Jenkinson, Investment Director, CalSTRS, said: “A globally competitive and investable economy requires modern infrastructure that is resilient to the climate shocks that we currently face and that will only grow if we do not decarbonize our economy with smart investments. Investors are ready to make larger investments if clear signals on infrastructure are sent now by policymakers.”
Ahead of the G7 Summit in June, 457 investors with more than $41 trillion in assets under management issued the strongest-ever investor call for climate policy action, warning inaction would cost nations to miss out on trillions of dollars in investment.
The Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis, organized by the seven Founding Partners of The Investor Agenda, represented the largest collective assets under management to sign on to such a statement since the first statement in 2009. It calls for resilient economic recovery plans that support the just and inclusive transition to a net zero emissions economy. This includes facilitating investment in zero-emissions energy and transport infrastructure, avoiding public investment in new carbon-intensive infrastructure and requiring carbon-intensive companies that receive government support to enact climate transition plans aligned with the Paris Agreement.
This global statement is still open for investor signatures. Click here to add your name.
Another signatory update will be announced ahead of Climate Week 2021 in September, and then again in November, when the statement with the final list of signatories will be delivered to policymakers ahead of COP26.
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About The Investor Agenda
The Investor Agenda is a common leadership agenda on the climate crisis that is unifying, comprehensive, and focused on accelerating investor action for a net-zero emissions economy. The founding partners of The Investor Agenda are seven major groups working with investors: Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative. For more information, visit theinvestoragenda.org and follow @InvestorAgenda.
CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions. Founded in 2000 and working with more than 590 investors with over $110 trillion in assets, CDP pioneered using capital markets and corporate procurement to motivate companies to disclose their environmental impacts, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Over 10,000 organizations around the world disclosed data through CDP in 2020, including more than 9,600 companies worth over 50% of global market capitalization, and over 940 cities, states and regions. Fully TCFD aligned, CDP holds the largest environmental database in the world, and CDP scores are widely used to drive investment and procurement decisions towards a zero carbon, sustainable and resilient economy. CDP is a founding member of the Science Based Targets initiative, We Mean Business Coalition, The Investor Agenda and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. Visit cdp.net or follow us @CDP to find out more.
Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.
The PRI works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. The PRI acts in the long-term interests of its signatories, of the financial markets and economies in which they operate and ultimately of the environment and society as a whole. Launched in New York in 2006, the PRI has grown to more than 4,000 signatories, managing over $103 trillion AUM.Read the statement