Sustainable growth and an updated strategy were core themes of the member-only event, alongside a keynote from the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a series of expert investor panels.
Faith Ward, Chair of the IIGCC Board and Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Brunel Pension Partnership opened the event in London by acknowledging that the challenges facing investors in 2022 continue today, exacerbated by new unrest in the Middle East.
But there are also reasons to be optimistic, she stressed. An increasing number of investors continue to set and make progress towards their net zero commitments, engaging with companies in their portfolios on the transition:
“The call for urgent action on nature and biodiversity has also been answered and the global momentum to change the path we are on is there.”
Guest speaker and esteemed climate scientist, Professor Jim Skea, Chair of the IPCC, added to this pragmatic message, warning that “if we continue at current levels, we will exhaust the 1.5°C carbon budget by 2030.”
“We are currently a factor of three to six short in terms of current investment.”
Jim’s detailed presentation offered members an insight into the latest climate science, drawing from the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Synthesis. This included current trends, long-term scenarios and near-term responses, as well as a first look at plans for the seventh assessment. The next cycle will take place over five to seven years and will include a special report on cities and climate change.
Jim also highlighted the huge fall in the cost of renewable energy and batteries which is driving record levels of investment. Alongside this, he warned the room that higher mitigation investment flows are required for all sectors and regions to limit temperature warming: “We are currently a factor of three to six short in terms of current investment.”
The science remains clear
While a sobering message, Faith made clear in her remarks that an investment gap is also an opportunity for those charged with managing the assets of their clients and beneficiaries.
“The window of opportunity for taking necessary action on climate change gets smaller with each year that passes - but the science remains clear,” Faith said: “And this is exactly why the work that IIGCC does, in collaboration with and on behalf of all of us - its members - is more important today than it has ever been.”
IIGCC focuses on helping investors to set net zero ambitions, providing frameworks and guidance to help them implement and manage those commitments. We also engage in policy advocacy to catalyse momentum and drive further action in the wider ecosystem, alongside building investor capacity through a greater understanding of the relationship between climate change and investments.
In less than five years this has led to the team expanding from around 10 people to fifty, co-founding five investor initiatives, publishing more than 450 resources and developing the most widely used investor net zero methodology, the Net Zero Investment Framework (NZIF).
Laid the groundwork
IIGCC CEO, Stephanie Pfeifer then took to the stage, joking that she had “both the privilege and unenviable task” of summarising the many ways that the team has supported members over the past year.
In the past year IIGCC hosted more than 40 webinars and surgery sessions to discuss and build understanding on key issues, with more than 700 attendees in total.
In the past year IIGCC hosted more than 40 webinars and surgery sessions to discuss and build understanding on key issues, Stephanie said, with more than 700 attendees in total. She also thanked the room for widespread participation in member focus groups, which provided a wealth of positive and constructive feedback to inform the strategy for 2024.
Plans include a delegation to COP28 and an updated version of NZIF, alongside more focus on applying net zero approaches in emerging markets and developing economies. This will include specific attention on how to support a just transition:
“Our work on sovereign bonds and country pathways has already started to lay the groundwork for enhancing NZIF in this way.”
Looking across the packed hall, Stephanie recognised the desire for in-person member events, promising more in 2024 alongside additional webinars, surgeries and roundtables, before closing with a message to all involved:
“I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our board for their support during the year and our absolutely amazing team for all your incredible work and inspiration throughout the year. And thank you to our members for supporting us - for your significant contributions in making all of this happen.”
This was followed by discussion panels on transition plans, competition law and nature and biodiversity, offering insights from a raft of speakers from the investor community and beyond.
Overall, of the event set out how much has been done and how much there still is to do. But above all else, IIGCC will continue to do our very best to support our members, bringing the investment community together to work towards a net zero and resilient future.
If you’d like to find out more about IIGCC membership and be the first to see our insights and analysis, why not speak to our investor relations manager today to find out more about becoming a part of IIGCC.