Coronavirus sees turning point in climate investment

Urgency to invest in climate resilience showcased by the effects of the pandemic, says CCRI

Coronavirus sees turning point in climate investment


By Ryan Smith

A global infrastructure investment of US$90 trillion will be needed over the next decade to achieve global growth expectations – and success will be contingent upon a shift in the way projects are financed to build resilience to climate change, industry leaders said during an event organised by the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI).

“With the need for systemic resilience to shocks and stresses made clear by the COVID-19 crisis, CCRI brought together over 200 policymakers, scientists and investors and business leaders to discuss challenges and solutions to better integrate physical climate risks in investment decision making,” CCRI said.

According to CCRI, investment decisions made now will lock in one of two new realities, perhaps for decades – either a global network of climate-resilient infrastructure, or a collection of exposed assets that will make social and economic activity vulnerable to client risk.

A panel of specialists at last week’s event featured representatives from the World Economic Forum, Aberdeen Standard Investments, S&P Global Ratings, HSBC, and DWS. The experts urged stakeholders to act quickly to address three specific weaknesses they identified as critical barriers to properly quantifying climate risk and shifting toward a more climate-resilient economy:

  • There is a need to support longer-term incentive structures that promote resilience in their efforts to encourage and reward an appropriate consideration of climate risks in investment decision-making.
  • Better data supported by sophisticated analytical tools is needed to properly assess and price climate risk.
  • A collaborative approach focused on building consensus is pivotal.

“As we recover from this pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to create a greener and more resilient global economy with governments and the private sector working hand in hand as a force for good,” said International Environmental Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith, who opened the event.

“COVID-19 has certainly tested our determination to advance our mandate in what has been a hugely challenging period,” said John Haley, chair of CCRI and CEO of Willis Towers Watson. “Despite the human and economic crisis attached to it, COVID-19 also constitutes a unique opportunity to ensure that climate risk is embedded in stimulus plans and decision-making more broadly. Our ultimate goal is that, by advancing more efficient investment decision-making practices, we will see lives and economies in developing and developed regions become more resilient.”

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