Cazenove Capital discuss the case to go green from an investor perspective

Climate change and the need to reorient the global economy towards decarbonisation is a key global challenge. In 2015, national governments from 196 countries committed to reducing emissions in line with temperatures rising by 1.5°C by 2050 as part of the Paris Agreement. Governments cannot achieve this target alone: cities, businesses, investors and asset owners must help mobilise the real economy to meet these targets.

The next 10 years will be a decade for delivery as regulatory, transition and physical climate risks increasingly become investment risks. For example, if governments agree to implement a global carbon price on all sectors – a key topic for COP26 later this year – of $100/tonne in line with 1.5°C scenarios, approximately 12-16% of global equity earnings are at risk, according to our research.

Additionally, for those businesses which are harder to decarbonise, the risk of “stranded assets” turning into liabilities on balance sheets, could be a significant factor in eroding a company’s value and impacting performance.

Finally, the physical cost of climate change has the potential to be significant for companies. Our research suggests that the cost to some companies of insuring their assets against the impacts of climate change could equate to more than 4% of their market values – for example in the case of utilities, oil and gas.

We believe investing in companies that do not make this transition and do not act to reduce these risks could have material negative financial implications for our clients. Conversely, investing in companies that are transitioning and innovating should provide investment upside over the longer term. This is why in December 2020 we joined 30 other asset managers, representing $9trillion in total assets under management, in making a net zero commitment. This commitment supports the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner.

At the start of this year, our parent group Schroders wrote to the UK’s 350 largest companies asking them to publish detailed and fully-costed transition plans on climate change. The detail is crucial. We want to see exactly how each company will play its part as the UK economy re-orientates towards the government’s target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We have started by contacting companies in the FTSE 350 index but, looking ahead, we will expect the same progress beyond these shores. We would like to see all medium and large companies, public and private, and regardless of where they are listed, publish their plans.

At Cazenove Capital, more specifically, our net zero ambition is made even more challenging by the fact that we are significant investors in other managers’ funds, as well as investing directly in companies. However, this means we have an opportunity to shape the wider investment community and use our influence to create change. As part of our net zero approach, we have therefore committed to:

  1. Transitioning our assets under discretionary management to achieve emissions reductions by 2030, consistent with a fair share of 50% global reduction in CO2.

  2. Work in partnership with our underlying asset managers on decarbonisation goals consistent with an ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, engaging with them on these goals at both a corporate level and with the individual managers of the strategies we hold.

  3. Report to The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and publish an annual climate action plan from January 2022, reporting on our progress through 2030 and beyond.

We are able to understand the extent to which other investors incorporate climate change and more broadly where they are on their sustainability journeys, thanks to our proprietary annual ESG questionnaire. Last year, we sent the questionnaire to 140 investment managers, responsible for the management of £39 trillion in assets. These are managers that we have chosen to invest with on behalf of our clients.

As part of our ongoing engagements with managers and our net zero commitment, in December 2020 we contacted all 140 of our managers to ask if they have, or intended to make, a net zero commitment. Over 50% have now responded – of those, 14% have made a commitment, 10% intend to make one before COP26, and 62% are considering one, whilst only 14% have not considered one yet. These initial findings are encouraging and we will continue to use our influence to push for change.

This article is issued in the UK by Cazenove Capital which is part of the Schroders Group and is a trading name of Schroder & Co. Limited, 1 London Wall Place, London, EC2Y 5AU. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Issued in the Channel Islands by Cazenove Capital which is part of the Schroder Group and is a trading name of Schroders (C.I.) Limited, licensed and regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission for banking and investment business. Nothing in this document should be deemed to constitute the provision of financial, investment or other professional advice in any way. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. This document may include forward-looking statements that are based upon our current opinions, expectations and projections. Exchange rate changes may cause the value of any overseas investments to rise or fall. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. All data contained within this document is sourced from Cazenove Capital unless otherwise stated. For your security communications may be recorded and monitored.

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