Global climate change investors groups publish report on investor practices relating to climate change

The European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, the North American Investor Network on Climate Risk, the Australia/New Zealand Investor Group on Climate Change and the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change have today published a report detailing the investment practices of asset managers and asset owners such as pension funds, relating to climate change.

The report details the results of the third global survey of investment practices, which was conducted by Mercer and is based on responses from thirty-seven asset owners and forty-seven asset managers with collective assets totalling more than USD $14 trillion.

The results show that a majority of investors view climate change as a material risk and as a consequence have retained, and in many cases advanced, their commitment to addressing climate change in their investment activities. This is despite wider economic challenges and continuing policy uncertainty. There is a clear trend in the results showing that climate risk analysis is performed within asset classes and for specific investments rather than at the portfolio level. In equity portfolios for example an analysis of climate risk was performed by almost all respondents.

Assessments of climate risk are directly influencing investment decisions. Fifty-three per cent of asset managers said that they decided to divest or not invest in listed equities based on climate change concerns, and a majority of asset owners (sixty-nine per cent) said that climate change integration influenced their fund manager decisions in 2012. This was a marked increased on the forty-three per cent who declared the same last year.

An increasing number of asset owners – sixty-three per cent – also said they are monitoring their existing asset managers on how they integrate climate change into their investment processes. This is a ten per cent increase on last year. A majority have conducted formal or informal climate risk assessments of their portfolios.

Despite encouraging signs of progress in the assessment of both low carbon and emission intensive exposures, investors face a number of challenges. These include a lack of clarity on which investments should be measured; patchy carbon signals; limited data, particularly for fixed interest investments and inadequate company disclosures.

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