Banking

Zero Emissions Day: What does the industry need to do?

Will Martindale, group head of sustainability at Cardano, the pensions investment and advisory firm

The IPCC report said climate change is worse than we thought and getting worse still. The report is unequivocal in stating humans have warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land, and that climate change is causing extreme weather in every region.

In financial markets, climate change is now a widely established concept – both as a financial risk, due to transition and climate-related risks, and an investment imperative, because the way in which we direct capital will support or hinder climate targets.

We need to decarbonise our portfolios, and we need to engage the companies we own to transition in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This means a 50% emissions reduction by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 (or sooner). It will require companies to set – and implement – science-based net-zero targets.

It also means working with or if necessary, challenging governments to implement the policy changes needed to decarbonise energy, industry, transport and buildings.

Most of all, we need to focus on real-world sustainability impact, because the metric that matters most is the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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