COP21 Briefing: ‘Call to Action’, Candriam, Hermes, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Pilgrimage2Paris

All the relevant news out of the Paris climate talks

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his address to the summit, said “enlightened investors” and innovative businesses are striving to create a climate-friendly economy. The transition has begun, he noted: “But they need your help in accelerating this essential shift.”

A worldwide group of global climate finance and responsible investing organisations called for coordinated action to scale up climate investment ‘infrastructure’ and financial flows following COP21 in an initiative dubbed Call to Action on Climate Finance. The group has put forward a three-point framework to encourage long-term capital allocation from financial markets alongside public finance: country-level Climate Investment Plans (CIPs); standardised data; and the establishment of a global network for climate investment. Initial supporters include the Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI), E3G, SynTao Green Finance, Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, the Climate Bonds Initiative, Ceres and Carbon Tracker.

Candriam Investors Group, the former Dexia Asset Management, committed to measure and disclose the carbon footprint of its sustainable investment funds annually, under the Montréal Carbon Pledge. Candriam, which is owned by New York Life Investment Management, has €91bn under management.

Four European countries – Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland – announced a new $500m initiative to create incentives to cut emissions in developing countries. The World Bank worked with the countries on the plan, the Transformative Carbon Asset Facility, which will start in 2016.

Researchers from the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford proposed a set of working principles for positive engagement between investors and companies that are carbon-intensive or engaged in fossil fuel extraction. It’s called the ‘Oxford Martin Net Zero Carbon Investment Initiative’; also published was a working paper called ‘Working Principles for Investment in Fossil Fuels’. Partners include academics at Harvard and Columbia universities and the 2° Investing Initiative. Link

The University of Sheffield in the UK has committed
to divest its £39m endowment from all fossil fuel companies on the first day of COP21.

The Indian government proposed an International Solar Alliance – saying there are more than 100 “solar-rich” countries in the tropics.S&P Dow Jones Indices launched the S&P Global 1200 Fossil Fuel Free Carbon Efficient Index, which first divests out of fossil fuels and then tilts towards low carbon emission stocks within sectors. It also released a research paper on the case for carbon efficient investment looking at passive strategies that either exclude or tilt away from fossil fuels and carbon. Link

Hermes Investment Management, the £29.5bn fund manager owned by the BT Pension Scheme, published ‘Turning Down the Heat’ – focusing on the risks carbon poses to investment portfolios and outlining the four pillars of Hermes’ strategy to mitigate this risk.

After walking more than 200 miles in 14 days from London to Paris, over 30 pilgrims on the Pilgrimage2Paris made it to the French capital on Friday 27 November. The pilgrimage culminated in a spiritual moment at the Basilica at St Denis and the handing over of a petition at the Salle de la Legion d’Honneur to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. She “was moved to tears as she received more than 1.7m petition signatures of supporters of faith-based organisations supporting climate action” wrote James Buchanan, project coordinator for the Paris pilgrimage.

Eleven donor countries pledged close to $250m in new money for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), a climate fund hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The heads of the world’s largest development banks pledged to work together to “substantially increase” climate investments and ensure that development programs consider climate risks and opportunities. In a joint statement, they pledged to “consider climate change across our strategies, programs, and operations to deliver more sustainable results, with a particular focus on the poor and most vulnerable.”

The Pew Research Center released a survey of 40 countries that found “widespread global support” for curbing the emissions that may contribute to warming the planet.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, led a group of philanthropists in vowing to invest $2bn into clean energy through personal investments and a new fund that will be set up next year. The initiative is called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. There is also a public component called Mission Innovation.