We have seen two major steps in the European regulation intended to promote sustainable investment and prevent greenwashing. None has been without controversy and concerns but it continues to move the industry in Europe ahead at a faster pace than elsewhere.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed in law by President Biden on 16 August 2022 after House Democrats approved the biggest-ever federal investment against climate change with a 220 to 207 vote.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed in law by President Biden on 16 August 2022 after House Democrats approved the biggest-ever federal investment against climate change with a 220 to 207 vote. The package targets USD 369bn of spending on energy and climate change. To illustrate the monumental size, some are pointing out the spending will be four times more than Obama’s Recovery Act of 2009 for climate initiatives. The impact will be far-reaching – even pushing some technologies, in our view, past tipping points. The legislation aims to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2030.
There is a danger that the sustainable investment world focuses too much attention on large companies. There is a rationale to do so, as they may be responsible for larger footprints and greater impacts, but this misses the significant portion of global GDP in the hands of small to medium companies, and the capacity for these companies to respond to environmental and social issues.
After obtaining the ISR label for its fund dedicated to educational real estate, QUAERO CAPITAL continues its momentum and receives the label for its Quaero Capital Funds (Lux) – Infrastructure Securities fund. The fund is the first actively managed fund 100% invested in listed infrastructure companies to have this label.
We are in the middle of the AGM season for most markets and seeing increasing ballots related to environmental and social issues. AGMs represent a very valuable opportunity for investors to challenge the board of directors, as well as use their votes to vote against weak governance structures. As the sustainable investment focus continues to grow, stewardship has become more and more important.
The Sixth Assessment Report on climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the third part of which was published earlier this month, has not been an easy read. Global CO2 emissions rose by +6% to 36.3bn tons in 2021, more than offsetting the reduction in 2020 due to Covid-19. The sustainable recovery much touted by governments has so far yet to come to fruition.
As investors and companies exit the Russian market in droves, new criteria, such as the defence of democracy and non-dependence on authoritarian regimes, are giving new lustre to previously banned sectors.
During the synchronised sell-off in markets in January – mainly due to massive sector rotation in favour of “value stocks” – clean energy sector stocks suffered. And yet, the transition to clean energy keeps accelerating.
Sustainable investment continues to charge on. Indeed, according to PwC, more than half of all planned ETF launches for 2022 are expected to be ESG tilted, including 80% of those in Europe. Expectations of investors alongside corporations continue to rise, alongside growing concerns about greenwashing.