12 February 2020
Members of the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, alongside UNEP FI and its partners, led an affiliated session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos on 22 January. The yearly forum engages political, business, cultural and other world leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The group of pension funds and insurers used this opportunity to convene industry CEOs and investors to address how to decarbonize the global economy and highlight the urgent climate action needed by the world’s leaders.
The Alliance has brought together some of the world’s largest investors, which collectively represent more than USD 4 trillion assets under management (AUM). These institutions have committed to transitioning their investment portfolios to net-zero carbon by 2050, demonstrating an unprecedented and highly ambitious action on the part of asset owners to align with the 1.5°C scenario and address Article 2.1c of the Paris Agreement.
The closed meeting at the WEF was designed to overcome the main obstacles to meeting the net-zero targets and discover how the Alliance can provide support to industry and investors as they develop rigorous long-term plans towards a net-zero economy. Introduced by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, who emphasized the role of the asset owner alliance in the transition to a low-carbon economy, a discussion between the CEOs of investors and companies including Shell’s Ben van Beurden and Allianz’s Oliver Bäte was chaired by Mission 2020’s Christiana Figueres. The CEOs and policy-makers covered topics ranging from carbon pricing, to the importance of a just transition, and how industry sectors will need to collaborate to bring change. Scientific insight on the importance of the 1.5° target and how it may impact economies, industries and companies was provided by Johan Rockström (Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research). Outcomes of the discussion are being used to inform the group’s work-plan over the next year.
At a press conference immediately after the session, Generali and the investment bodies of the Church of England announced that they were joining the Alliance, bringing collective AUM to USD 4.3 trillion. The panel included Christiana Figueres, Convener Mission 2020 and former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Günther Thallinger, Member of the Board of Management, Allianz, and Chair of Steering Group, Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, Guido Fürer, CIO, SwissRe, and Tom Joy, Director of Investments at Church Commissioners for England. Watch the recording to hear more about the Alliance members’ commitment to decarbonize their portfolios by 2050, and how they plan to get there.