At the end of this month, global leaders from across politics, business, investing and ecology will gather in Glasgow – or possibly online – to address the great challenge of our age: climate change.
Many conferences overstate their importance. Not this one. Scientists have warned us that COP 26 is probably our last big chance to address climate change globally and to change how we live before the impacts become unmanageable.
We all know the risks because they are already holding the headlines, and yet we also know this is just a tiny taste of what is to come. The only answer is a herculean global push to limit man-made climate change to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
At the moment, we are not even on track to limit it to 2°C. This is the last big chance for politicians, diplomats and policymakers to rise to that challenge.
But Net Zero is only achievable if asset owners and asset managers are on board. Statista estimates that, at the end of 2020, global assets under management amounted to $103 trillion (£75 trillion) – for context, UK GDP in 2020 was a little over £2 trillion.
Investors globally, then, are currently part of the problem; but we have the potential to be part of the solution. $103 trillion invested for Net Zero would transform not just the trajectory of the global economy, but the trajectory of the planet.
Getting there will be very difficult for all kinds of reasons. But it is possible. And new paths are being trod by investors that show the way – some of these paths have only been beaten in recent months. In the coming weeks, we will be publishing articles and speaking at events to talk about these new paths – and to encourage others to take them.
This campaign will not benefit us as investors in the short term. But it will benefit us in two crucial ways: as residents of a finely-tuned ecosystem; and as long-term investors concerned to ensure that our clients’ pension funds are still secure in a very different kind of global economy.
Above all, though, we want both politicians and the financial industry to wake up to the need to act today. That is why we are calling our campaign No Excuses on Net Zero. We hope you will support our campaign by publicising it through conversations, social media and more.
In the four years since our founding, Brunel has established itself as a leader in climate investing. This is the moment we want to make that leadership count.
We open our campaign with an interview that Asset TV recently conducted with Faith Ward, our Chief Responsible Investment Officer. Faith is also Chair of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and will be attending COP 26 as a ‘Blue Zone’ pass-holder. She will therefore have access to all zones, including those where the crucial negotiations will take place.
In the interview, Faith talks about the scale of the challenge that we face, the need for greater ambition, the opportunity of COP 26, and what investors need to do next.