Investors, companies and climate leaders joined IIGCC for its AGM in Barcelona to celebrate success in a challenging year, reflect on key events and share their views for 2023.
When 2022 began investors would have been forgiven for expecting a quieter year after the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing them to focus on implementing the net zero commitments made in the run up to COP26.
Tragically, the war in Ukraine changed that, creating a trilemma of challenges relating to energy affordability, sustainability and security, compounding the pressures of climate change.
It was in this context that IIGCC invited its members, partners and supporters to its Annual General Meeting in Barcelona, kindly sponsored by Neuberger Berman and Lazard Asset Management.
“We are in the middle of a global energy crisis of, in our view, unprecedented depth and complexity,” cautioned Tim Gould, Chief Energy Economist at the International Energy Agency in his opening keynote: “My ask is that you redouble your efforts to hit the targets companies and countries have announced.”
Tim’s presentation set the scene, reiterating the IEA’s commitment to 1.5 degrees and the need to build adaptation and resilience in supply chains – an area where investors can play a crucial role.
“A GLOBAL ENERGY CRISIS OF, IN OUR VIEW, UNPRECEDENTED DEPTH AND COMPLEXITY.”
Watch the AGM highlight reel below:
Demand for implementation
Meaningful progress across the year was clear throughout. Stephanie Pfeifer, IIGCC CEO, outlined the organisation’s growth – now at almost 400 members – and their demand for its support in engaging companies, informing investor practices, and influencing public policy.
“The really key feature from 2022 was the demand from our members for implementation support. Our team has been increasingly focused on practical surgeries to support members using those tools and frameworks.”
Stephanie also reflected on COP27, where the biggest ask from climate leaders was for investors to focus more on emerging markets and how best to support the transition away from fossil fuels.
“THE REALLY KEY FEATURE FROM 2022 WAS THE DEMAND FROM OUR MEMBERS FOR IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT.”
A meeting of minds
IIGCC’s value as a member-led organisation has long been its ability to bring together experts in the community. The AGM was a prime example of this.
Removing barriers to investing in emerging markets, implementing net zero commitments, investor corporate engagement, and strategic asset allocation in a climate context were the focal points of discussion, with guest speakers from across the global investment community.
The audience also heard from Teresa Ribera, Vice President of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, who welcomed the discussion in Barcelona.
On the corporate side, Rachel McEwen, Chief Sustainability Officer at Scottish and Southern Energy, explained that investor engagement at AGMs was welcome: “employees see that and it brings kudos and credibility to our work.”
Turning to the growing topic of nature and biodiversity, attendees had a sneak preview of Nature Action 100 from some of its founding investor members; Federated Hermes and Robeco, ahead of the recent soft launch in Montreal at the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15.
Well-placed for 2023
Overall, it was a story of growth for IIGCC and the responsible investing community despite the odds, and this momentum looks set to continue into the new year.
IIGCC reappointed three board members after member voting at the event and outlined its plans for the year ahead.
The priorities include supporting progress towards an energy transition that addresses the issues posed by the trilemma; scaling up nature and biodiversity expertise; and considering how private finance can be effectively mobilised to support developing economies, ensuring that it is done in a way that reflects the need for a just transition.
“What I’m left with, with no doubt, is the role of IIGCC, the need of IIGCC and the need of our members to address these challenges,” concluded Faith Ward, IIGCC Chair and Chief Responsible Investment Officer for Brunel Pension Partnership, as speakers and members headed downstairs for the opportunity to meet and discuss with peers at a networking reception.
“WHAT I’M LEFT WITH, WITH NO DOUBT, IS THE ROLE OF IIGCC.”
If you’d like to receive our newsletters full of industry-leading research and analysis, find out more about becoming a member today.