Brunel’s Faith Ward appointed Chair of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change

Denise Le Gal
Independent Chair
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Fire clouds over San Francisco

Brunel Pension Partnership is very proud to report that Faith Ward, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, has been appointed Chair of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which represents more than £33 trillion in assets. As an ambassador for The Diversity Project, I was also very pleased to discover that she will be the first woman to be appointed to the role.

“We are delighted to welcome Faith Ward as Chair and her appointment comes at a moment of true global opportunity,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, IIGCC. “2021 is a vital year for our sector, and we will be working with our members to advocate for real progress towards a Net Zero and resilient future. The IIGCC will provide a platform to showcase investor action in the run-up to COP26 and at the event itself. We will also be working with our members to inform policy dialogue and build policy momentum ahead of Glasgow, as well as supporting investor engagement with companies.”

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change is the largest global investor body focusing specifically on climate change, with some 275 members across 15 countries. Over the past two decades, it has been pivotal in providing the investor community, through its various workstreams, with practical tools to manage climate risk. Earlier this year, the IIGCC launched its draft Net Zero framework, which brings these workstreams together to enable investors to race to Net Zero.

Brunel was an early advocate of the Net Zero project and was closely involved in enabling its completion and launch. Faith Ward Co-Chaired the Net Zero Investment Framework Real Estate Working Group and will continue to sit on the Steering Committee for the Net Zero Investment Framework.

Bringing industry change

“Faith’s appointment is wonderful news for Brunel, for the industry and, ultimately, for the planet,” said Laura Chappell, CEO at Brunel Pension Partnership. “First of all, her appointment recognises the enormous contribution she has already made in this area over many years thanks to her expertise and commitment. Secondly, it’s hugely gratifying for Brunel, an early advocate of the IIGCC’s Net Zero framework, since one of our core purposes is to bring change in the broader industry. And lastly, it’s a wonderful appointment for the future, since Faith combines a deep understanding of the details of climate investing with an optimistic and determined focus on the broader goals.”

Across the industry, the focus on climate investing has recently accelerated, helped by lobbyists, industry groups, regulators and media attention. Institutional investors have reviewed and developed their core aims. Finally, new lockdown rules on travel have spurred increased reflection and debate on the possibility of changing how we live, work and invest for the sake of limiting climate change.

In her new role, Faith will expand her work with national and supranational policymakers, lending her expertise at both levels. She will help to support and define public policy and corporate behaviour, and operate as a conduit for stakeholders involved in investing for a world worth living in.

The role will therefore help her fulfil Brunel’s mission to catalyse systemic change so the investment industry is fit for purpose. It will also help our broader partnership to stay ahead on the climate investing agenda. It enables Brunel to take more of a leadership role on behalf of our clients and managers, several of whom are already IIGCC members.

The year ahead

In November 2021, the UK will host COP26, the United Nations Climate Conference, in Glasgow. In its own words, the conference will “bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.” That makes 2021 a crucial year for climate policy and progress.

Real progress cannot be made without changing how finance operates, and this puts the work of the IIGCC in the spotlight. It faces an enormous opportunity.

“At Brunel, we believe that the financial industry needs to change systemically if we are realistically going to be able to respond to climate change,” said Faith Ward, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Brunel. “As Chair of the IIGCC, I have two leading priorities. Firstly, to motivate and persuade investors to use the Net Zero Investment Framework. Secondly, to enable our industry to demonstrate that we can deliver on our ambitions and ready ourselves for a Net Zero future.

“We need to work harder and faster, as an industry and as a society. Fundamentally, we need to work together. I am delighted to receive the support of the members to chair the Board of IIGCC in what I believe will be the most important time of our lives to achieve the Net Zero transition,” said Ward.

Faith will continue is her role at Brunel but will relinquish her role on reporting and assessment for the UNPRI, a position she has held for nearly a  decade. She will also step down as Co-Chair of the Transition Pathway Initiative and instead sit on the TPI’s Steering Committee.

More details about the IIGCC can be found on their website.

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