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Tackling climate change

Climate change threatens life as we know it. Solving this global challenge requires an overhaul of the financial system.

A global challenge

The science is clear: we’re facing a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it. The average temperature on earth is now 1.2C higher than at the start of the 20th century, and it’s rising. This is bringing widespread impacts, including more frequent and extreme weather, the loss of our natural world, food scarcity and increased poverty and instability for millions of people.

The 2015 Paris Agreement was a landmark global commitment to combat this growing challenge, and hold global heating to below 1.5C. Yet governments and companies are still not doing enough. We have the power to fix this crisis. But doing so will mean an overhaul of how and where money is invested. We’re working to ensure the investment system is part of the solution.

Role of the financial system

Just 100 companies are responsible for over 70 per cent of global emissions. Along with their investors, they could hold the key to tackling climate change.

The world’s three largest asset managers have a combined £300 billion invested in fossil fuels – including money from private savings and pensions.

Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, the world’s 60 largest banks have financed fossil fuels to the tune of US$7 trillion.

The value of global financial assets at risk from climate change has been estimated at between US$2.5 trillion and US$4.2 trillion.

Climate change themes

Fossil fuels

Emissions from fossil fuels are the dominant cause of global heating and fossil fuel companies remain huge polluters, as they look to extract, produce and sell more products worldwide. Big investors continue to provide a lifeline to these industries – but continued investment is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We work to assess the fossil fuel policies of the biggest investors, banks and insurers, and to challenge them to go further in excluding the dirtiest energy fuels from their investment portfolios.

Heavy industry

Industrial activities are a major source of carbon emissions, along with other potent greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide, methane, and fluorinated gases. Heavy industry is thought to be responsible for 22 per cent of global emissions – and decarbonisation of these sectors is complex. The chemical sector is the largest industrial consumer of both oil and gas. We work with investors of the chemicals sector to break down the technical barriers to action, and present credible decarbonisation pathways they can use to pressure companies.

Built environment

The built environment is a driver of the climate crisis hiding in plain sight. Emissions ‘embodied’ in buildings when they are built, and released to heat and power them, are estimated to account for a third of global GHG emissions. Tackling both ‘embodied’ and ‘operational’ emissions will therefore be critical to meet the Paris goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C. We work with investors to steward real economy actors towards the decarbonisation of the built environment.

Our Solutions

Unlocking the power of investors

We benchmark and engage with investors to harness the power of investment for social and environmental progress.

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Reforming the rules

We work with policy makers and regulators to drive the uptake of responsible investment across the UK and globally.

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Building a movement

We educate and empower individuals on how they can use their money to build the future they want.

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Investor Decarbonisation Initiative

We have the tools to fix the climate crisis but, as companies are responsible for a huge portion of global emissions, their actions will be critical. We bring together investors to accelerate corporate action on climate change in key battleground sectors.

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