Pension funds to sustain climate change pressure

Stephanie PfeiferPension funds globally should maintain the pressure on governments to deliver on their promised emission reduction targets, in the wake of a “disappointing” result in Copenhagen, according to the executive director of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Stephanie Pfeifer.

While the Copenhagen summit produced “good momentum” from countries which hadn’t made commitments before, such as Brazil and China, she said the lack of a legally binding agreement was disappointing.

In the first half of 2010 the IIGCC will focus on policy in order to push for a legally binding treaty before COP in Mexico at the end of the year.

“What we need to do is keep up the pressure and call on these countries to do what they said they would do,” she said.

Pfeifer said one hopeful aspect of the Copenhagen accord was the blank tables at the back of the document allowing each country to fill out their own targets. This needs to be completed before the end of January but it remains to be seen if this will be legally binding.

The IIGCC, which is a forum for collaboration on climate change for European investors, collaborated with other regional organisations in September to sign a policy statement calling for a strong and binding international treaty that will reduce pollution and catalyse massive global investments in low-carbon technologies. It was signed by 181 investors with collective assets of $13 trillion.

A recent study commissioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change showed the private sector would have to supply close to 90 per cent of the funds needed to meet the climate change challenge.

One of the key objectives of the group is to catalyse greater investment in a low carbon economy by bringing investors together to use their collective influence with companies, policymakers and investors.

It will continue to survey investors on how they incorporate climate change into their long-term investment strategies, and is collaborating with Mercer once again to survey pension funds in January.