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PRI at COP27 – Reflections on the first week | blog post

COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh represents the last landmark opportunity for governments and non-state actors, including from across the investment sector, to come together with the aim of making the Paris Agreement a reality.

After last year’s conference in Glasgow, where the focus was on ambition and commitments, this year’s event has so far focused on implementation – how can we act on climate change, at the scale and ambition needed to keep the hope of a 1.5°C future alive?

I had the privilege of attending the COP last week to represent you, our signatories, and to help ensure that our industry is represented in these very vital discussions.

The conversations I’ve had with our stakeholders have helped reinforce not only the scale of the challenge ahead and the very real consequences of inaction, but also that investors are ready to push ambition higher far and faster, and to act where it is most needed.

The importance of holding this COP in Egypt cannot be underestimated. Climate change threatens our way of life and our ways of doing business, and this cost will be borne disproportionately by developing countries across Africa and beyond.

Without action, the warming of our planet will undoubtedly aggravate the current and profoundly difficult economic and social pressures on nations that already have desperately scarce resources to deal with them.

The discussions I heard over the week made it clear that our industry has a vital role to play in facilitating an orderly and just transition to a global economic system that safeguards the future of our world and means that investors can Effectively discharging their fiduciary duty and delivering will return well in the decades to come.

The role of the PRI is to support and act on behalf of our signatories as this transition takes shape, and during the first week of COP27 we were able to do this loud and clear at several events, roundtables and pivotal meetings, where it is imperative that the voices of investors are heard.

We must be clear that, if left unchecked, climate change poses the greatest and most pressing threat to our ability to operate effectively as investors in the future.

Many of you will be aware of my recent face-to-face meetings with our signatories around the world as we continue to work through our ongoing consultation on the PRI in a Changing World, including the formal inquiry phase will open soon.

These deeply informative and important conversations, alongside my meetings with signatories participating in the COP this year, have underscored that our base of signatories have genuine ambition and commitment to address the threat of climate change effectively and comprehensively.

We must be clear that, if left unchecked, climate change poses the greatest and most pressing threat to our ability to operate effectively as investors in the future. As an industry, we have a duty to our customers to confront this threat.

And while we must recognize that industry needs to do more to drive ambition and action on the issue, the message I hear from the signatories is clear – “we want to act, but we need support to do so”.

One of our main calls to action during our various engagements during the first week of the COP was addressed to policymakers, calling on them to effectively support the actions that investors are already taking and to elevate the impact of these actions at the higher level.

This means we need more concerted action from policymakers and regulators around the world, to help shape how investors approach this challenge and, importantly, to increase the universe of investment opportunities. investments that tackle the climate challenge while delivering appropriate returns.

PRI CEO David Atkin speaking at the Caring for Climate High Level Meeting at COP27

On Monday, November 7, I was fortunate to be able to attend the Leaders’ Summit on Forests and Climate, where I heard remarks from the US President’s Special Climate Envoy John Kerry, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Colombian President Gustavo Petro and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, among others, on how governments around the world are responding to the challenges of deforestation.

In addition, on Tuesday, November 8, I attended the launch of the report of the High-Level Panel of Experts on Net Zero Emissions Commitments by Non-State Entities, which was addressed by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

On Finance Day (9 November), the PRI were among a small number of observers invited to contribute to the high-level ministerial dialogue on the new collective quantified target on climate finance. I have personally contributed to the dialogue, providing investors’ perspective on many key agenda items, including how the lessons learned and opportunities identified from the work program so far can help mobilize and deliver climate finance.

The PRI believe that engagement and contribution of this nature is of paramount importance in ensuring that the voices of our signatories are heard loud and clear in high-level discussions, which will have a fundamental impact on the direction to be taken for the entire responsible investment landscape.

Despite market headwinds and ongoing socio-economic uncertainty, one message is clearer than ever: being an effective investor means being a responsible investor.

I have also had the pleasure of moderating several panels, including on behalf of the Marrakech Partnership for an event on mobilizing finance for climate solutions and resilience, and with our colleagues at The Investor Agenda, on the best ways to to support investors in mobilizing their net zero balance sheet. commitments.

Both events were very informative, allowing us to hear the views of investors, policy makers and other influential voices on the evolving role the industry must play in the future.

These groups agreed on one key point – while the investment industry has made progress, it’s not yet “work done”. The toughest challenge is still ahead of us, and we must pursue innovative and ambitious courses of action to give the industry a chance to effectively navigate the transition.

The themes of this year’s COP – around implementation, a just transition and the links between climate, biodiversity and nature, to name but a few – have been clearly stated and well heard.

The outcome of this conference will ultimately determine whether it is deemed a success – but we must not lose sight of the progress our industry has made so far, and the pivotal role we still need to play.

I repeat: investors cannot bear this burden alone. But at this point, we simply cannot rest on our laurels. We need to capitalize on the wave of support that I know exists in our industry and turn that into more ambitious commitment and tangible action.

Despite market headwinds and ongoing socio-economic uncertainty, one message is clearer than ever: being an effective investor means being a responsible investor. Let’s use this COP as an opportunity to push ourselves forward.

As PRI, we are committed to understanding how climate priorities are shaped by economies around the world, to enable us to better integrate investors’ perspectives and needs into the key international debate that will shape future global action.

I look forward to continuing these conversations at PRI in Person & Online 2022 in Barcelona.

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