The chief executive officers of three leading institutional investor-focused organisations – the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) – have published an open letter to the UK’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, and her government, calling to support the net zero ambition.
Making the case for implementing net zero policies today, the CEOs stated the solutions required to address the ongoing energy security and cost of living crises are the same as those needed to achieve the UK’s longer-term climate objectives.
As a priority, they call for policies to deliver on energy efficiency, power sector decarbonisation and renewables integration. In the letter, the CEOs argued that tackling the climate crisis and avoiding the worst of its impacts are in the UK’s national and economic interest.
Led by IIGCC, PRI and UKSIF, the letter is also supported by eight investors – Aviva, Brunel Pensions Partnership, BT Pension Scheme Management, Cardano Investment, Hymans Robertson, Impax Asset Management Group, Federated Hermes Limited and Phoenix Group – with their CEOs and/or senior management adding signatures to the letter in support.
Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of IIGCC, said: “There are many benefits that support the case for the transition to net zero, including greater energy security and affordability, and an avoidance of the worst impacts of climate change. However, to realise these benefits will require both a significant increase in new investment from the private sector in climate solutions, such as renewables, and a shift in capital allocation to assets that support the transition.”
To facilitate this, she said, “I urge the new Prime Minister to uphold net zero ambition and set a clear policy vision underpinned by near-term actions and milestones.”
David Atkin, PRI’s chief, said: “The transition to a net zero economy stands to deliver huge benefits to people and businesses and across the UK, while also helping to deliver the new government’s pro-growth agenda. In the long term, and if approached correctly, the move to net zero will help secure the UK’s clean energy supply for generations, turbocharge economic growth by creating new jobs and business opportunities, and firmly place the UK among world-leading nations on this issue.”
He added that the UK remained a vital hub for financial services, and that PRI’s signatories remain committed to “doing their part to deliver net zero”.
James Alexander, CEO of UKSIF, added: “On behalf of financial services institutions committed to promoting sustainability, we urge the incoming government to reaffirm the UK’s objective to be a global leader in tackling climate change risks. A key part of this will be maintaining ambitious climate policies and building the right regulatory environment to support this. We disagree with the view that UK investors favour a ‘light-touch’ regulatory approach in response to the economic headwinds the country faces.”
Alexander said that UKSIF’s members require greater clarity on the policy landscape for the real economy and financial services in order to invest more capital towards delivering the clean energy transition whilst enhancing the country’s energy security.
“This should be encouraged through the creation of clear policy and long-term financing frameworks for various sectors of the UK economy,” he said.