Submitted by Ceres
With Climate Week NYC and the United Nations Climate Action Summit set to kick off on Monday (Sept. 23), investors are stepping up like never before to demand bold and urgent action from private and public sector leaders on climate change.
This week alone, hundreds of major investors with dozens of trillions of dollars in assets under management have called for leadership from companies and policymakers. Ceres, which was founded 30 years ago by investors in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, has played a key role in mobilizing many of these investors behind these urgent calls for action.
“Investors are stepping up like never before to call for leadership from both companies and policymakers to tackle the global climate crisis,” said Ceres CEO and President Mindy Lubber, who will participate in a panel discussion during the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC to mark the five year anniversary of We Mean Business, a partner coalition catalyzing business action and policy ambition. “We hope business and government leaders will respond quickly at the level of ambition required to achieve a just and sustainable economy. We expect that positive momentum will continue to build coming out of next week’s convenings.”
Examples of investor calls for action this week include:
In the largest ever Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change, a record 515 institutional investors with $35 trillion in assets urged world governments to phase out thermal coal power worldwide, put a price on carbon pollution, end government subsidies for fossil fuels, update and strengthen nationally-determined contributions by 2020. The investors warned that the current government commitments leave an “ambition gap” that will not prevent average global temperatures from rising beyond the 1.5 degree threshold that scientists warn could trigger catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change.
200 major investors with $6.5 trillion in assets under management urged 47 of the largest publicly traded U.S. corporations to align their climate lobbying with the Paris Agreement. The companies are the U.S.-based corporations on the Climate Action 100+ focus list. These companies have been identified by investors as being some of the largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters, or so influential in their industries that they have opportunities to drive the clean energy transition. In a media statement, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said, “Many companies talk the talk when it comes to building a lower-carbon global economy, but some continue to support agendas and trade groups that oppose the goals of the Paris Agreement. We need greater transparency and accountability from our portfolio companies."
In response to the devastating Amazon fires, 230 investors with $16.2 in assets under management issued an urgent plea to companies to redouble their efforts and demonstrate a clear commitment to eliminating deforestation within their operations and supply chains. They said, “As investors, we see deforestation and the associated impacts on biodiversity and climate change as systemic risks to our portfolios and see the reduction of deforestation as a key solution to managing these risks and contributing to efficient and sustainable financial markets in the longer term.” California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS)’ Anne Simpson said in a media statement, “Deforestation is a global issue for long term investors like CalPERS, who face severe and urgent risks posed by climate change.”
Ceres, along with its partners, also released this week the first ever Annual Progress Report for The Investor Agenda that found nearly 1,200 investors have taken action in one or more of the focus areas of the initiative. More than 750 investors have engaged with or directly influenced portfolio companies to act on climate change, more than 400 investors have stepped up their own disclosure on climate change, and more than 260 have set a climate target.
Investors continue to echo the urgency conveyed in the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report, which stressed the need to transform the global economy in order to keep the planet from warming beyond 1.5 degrees to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. Their calls for action come as the impacts of climate change are in stark focus, with massive forest fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest, July 2019 breaking records as the hottest month ever recorded, and Hurricane Dorian wreaking deadly havoc in the Caribbean.
“The need for private and public sector leadership on climate change has never been greater,” said Sue Reid, Ceres’ vice president of climate and energy. “We’re seeing that urgency reflected in the crescendoing calls to action from many of the world’s largest investors as business leaders and heads of state prepare to convene in New York next week. We’re also seeing it reflected in the resounding demonstrations outside these meetings, as global citizens rise up and demand action on climate. For companies and public officials alike, there is nowhere to hide. They must act now.”
Several Ceres experts, along with many Ceres network members will be participating in high-level events and panel discussions next week. Many companies are expected to use next week as a platform to showcase their climate leadership and announce new commitments.
Featured events include:
Monday, September 23, 8:00 - 9:30 am: Ceres’ CEO and president Mindy Lubber will moderate the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development impact summit panel on water and resiliency.
Monday, September 23, 8:30 am - 12:00 pm: Ceres’ CEO and president Mindy Lubber will participate in Climate Week NYC opening ceremony panel discussion with the CEOs of IKEA and The Climate Group.
Tuesday, September 24, 5:30 - 8:00 pm: Ceres’ vice president of innovation and evaluation Brooke Barton will speak on the Aquatics: Water, Wall Street, and Climate Change panel hosted by Thomson Reuters. Find more information here.
Wednesday, September 25, 6:30 - 9:00 pm: Ceres’ vice president of government relations Anne Kelly will emcee the We Are Still In: Stepping Up Climate Action panel discussion at Facebook. Find more information here.
Wednesday, September 25, 11:00 - 11:45 am: Ceres’ CEO and president Mindy Lubber will moderate a panel on incorporating sustainability into investment strategies and decision-making at the Sustainable Investment Forum North America. Ceres’ executive vice president and chief operating officer Dawn Martin will emcee. Find more information here.
Thursday, September 26, 8:30 am - 12:15 pm: Ceres’ CEO and president Mindy Lubber will deliver the opening remarks at Moody’s Climate Week NYC morning briefing. Find more information here.
Thursday, September 26, 11:30 am - 4:00 pm: Ceres’ CEO and president Mindy Lubber will speak at United States Sustainable Stock Exchange’s 10th anniversary celebration. Find more information here.
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Through powerful networks and advocacy, Ceres tackles the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and human rights abuses.
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