Institutions gain weight on climate changeUnited Kingdom
A group of leading institutional investors calling for action on climate change is hoping what it sees as its increased influence on policymakers will accelerate progress.
Ole Sorensen, head of research strategy at ATP, the Danish pension fund, and chairman of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, said the group had been invited to provide speakers for 10 events at a United Nations conference on climate change in Cancun, Mexico, starting on November 29.
He said the IIGCC was increasingly being asked to speak on behalf of institutional investors at the European Union and other venues. “Policymakers do realize that the lion’s share of money we need to invest in climate change must come from private sources,” Mr. Sorensen said.
The group, which represents European investors, has joined forces with other investment and pressure groups to release a statement calling for specific measures to be adopted. It warned of the risk of economic disruption if nothing was done.
Given its scale – the combined grouping represents $15,000bn in assets under management and includes among its 259 members many of the largest pension funds in Europe and the US – it is hoping its voice will have some influence.
“Things do seem to have changed in the run up to Cancun – we’re receiving a message from the policy community about the importance of institutional investors,” Mr. Sorensen said.
The group, formed in 2001, is repeating calls for measures to reduce the impact of climate change, but wants to see delivery of the promised fast-start climate financing, consistent with pledges at last year’s UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen. It also wants to see progress towards a legally binding agreement at a follow-up conference in South Africa next year.
“There’s a general acceptance of the importance of public policy and the fact that private investors have a role and that there’s a need for a sustained dialogue,” said Mr. Sorensen.
Signatories to the statement, issued on Tuesday, include members of the Investor Group on Climate Change Australia/New Zealand, representing institutional investors with assets under management of about A$500bn ($490bn), and Investor Network on Climate Risk, an alliance of 90 institutional investors with collective assets of $9,000bn.
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