The fight against climate change
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The fight against climate change

Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg has become the face of climate change activism, responsible for leading the largest climate strike in history. And this month, November, sees the publication of new picture book for young readers inspired by her story.

Entitled  ‘Greta and the Giants’, it tells the story of a girl called Greta who is begged by animals to take action after giants start to destroy their forest home. The book has been approved by Thunberg and will be printed on 100% recycled paper with 3% of the cover price going to Greenpeace.[1]

 

Inspiring action

Thunberg has inspired millions to get involved in demanding action on climate change. In September, she led around four million people from 161 countries to walk out of school and work as part of a global climate strike.

In December, she is hoping to join the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25), the UN’s annual climate change conference in Madrid, Spain. Although at the time of writing, getting there in an eco-friendly manner was proving tricky for the Swedish teenager.

COP 25 has endured its own arduous journey this year. The conference was originally scheduled to take place in November in Brazil, but President Jair Bolsonaro withdrew the offer to host the event, citing budget restrictions.[2]

The gathering was then moved to Santiago, Chile but that too has been cancelled in the wake of civil unrest in the country. With the event, kicking-off on 2 December Madrid has mere weeks to put it all together.

The aim of the conference is to build on the global commitment to deliver international climate action, with governments, business leaders and advisers working together to carry forward progress made at previous summits. This includes building on the Paris Agreement, made at COP21, which aims to keep a global temperature rise this century to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to try to limit this increase further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.[3]


Investing responsibly

Growing numbers of investors are keen to play their part in tackling climate change and other environmental issues, such as plastic pollution, by investing responsibly. This essentially means choosing investments which incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into their approach.

In Europe, total assets committed to sustainable and responsible investment strategies grew by 11% from 2016 to 2018 to reach €12.3 trillion ($14.1 trillion), according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.[4]

In the United States, total US-domiciled assets under management using sustainable strategies grew from $8.7 trillion at the start of 2016 to $12 trillion at the start of 2018, an increase of 38%.

The number of investment funds which incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles continues to grow rapidly, providing a much wider range of options available to investors.            

Gone are the days too when investors shunned responsible investing because of the perception that it could mean sacrificing returns. There is evidence to suggest that responsible or ethical investing equity indices have outperformed other benchmarks in the UK and the US over both shorter and longer time periods.[5]

Although past performance cannot be relied on as a guide to the future, investing responsibly can be a force for good – both for the planet and potentially investors’ pockets.  

 

 

References

[1] The Bookseller, France Lincoln publishes Great Thunberg-inspired picture book, September 2019
[2] The Guardian, Brazil reneges on hosting UN climate talks under Bolsonaro presidency, November 2018
[3] United Nations Climate Change, What is the Paris Agreement?
[4] Global Sustainable Alliance 2018 Review
[5] Investment Week,  Ethical indices outperform traditional ones amid 'huge' evolution of the sector, October 2019


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