At the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, in January, decision-makers from the global corporate order discussed a radical idea: to use the trillions of dollars sitting in pension funds, insurance groups and family offices to support Sustainable Development Goals. SDGs were launched by the United Nations in 2015, covering socio-economic issues like poverty, hunger, health, education and global warming. Because governments and NGOs like the World Bank provide around $1 trillion of the minimum $4tn of annual investment commentators agree is required to create the necessary infrastructure, the great and the good at Davos decreed that private funding is unquestionably needed to make up the difference. As you would expect, there has been a level of pushback against highly-paid CEOs who, first and foremost, serve the interests of investors vis-a-vis other stakeholders to put their money where their mouths are. At the same time, in an age of duplicitous politicians, perhaps corporate executives, investors and even financiers can be more trusted to bring about real, lasting change. Certainly there has been an undeniable wave of interest in the importance of investing for profit with purpose. This fast-developing segment of the investment world was examined last week at Cazenove Capital’s private investor event at the EICC. As the guest of a co-sponsor, private bank Hampden & Co, I camped for the afternoon at the Mission Led Investment in Scotland conference, which considered themes around investing in sustainability going mainstream, enabling social enterprise in Scotland and how to create a portfolio of mission-led investments.
Scotsman 25th Feb 2019 read more »
ExxonMobil, the world’s largest listed oil company, is trying to prevent an investor proposal on setting targets for greenhouse gas emissions from coming up for a vote at its annual meeting in May. The company has written to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the financial regulator, arguing that the proposal is misleading, amounts to an attempt to “micro-manage the company” and has already been substantially implemented. The proposal, backed by investors with a total of $1.9tn under management, led by the pension fund for New York state, calls on Exxon to start setting short, medium and long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including those released when its products are used. Exxon argued that it was already cutting its emissions and that forcing it into unilateral action could make it harder for countries to meet their pledges under the Paris climate agreement.
FT 24th Feb 2019 read more »
The Church of England has warned that fossil fuel companies are in its sights, following its successful push to get coal miner Glencore to cap its coal production and align its business with the Paris climate accord. Glencore, the world’s top coal exporter, last week said it would cap its production of thermal and coking coal at about 150m tonnes a year, with further expansion of its coal business largely ruled out. The move came after the Anglican church led investor engagement with Glencore on behalf of the Climate Action 100+, an initiative backed by investors with more than $32tn of assets under management. The church has now said it is prepared to file shareholder resolutions to push other companies to do more to combat climate change.
FT 24th Feb 2019 read more »