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Rathbone Greenbank’s top ESG themes for 2022

10 January 2022

Karen Jones

The Global Biodiversity Framework: Biodiversity is an issue which Greenbank has been championing for many years.

 

 Kate Elliot, Rathbone Greenbank Investments

 

Kate Elliot, head of ethical, sustainable and impact research, Rathbone Greenbank Investments spoke about ESG and said: “Biodiversity is an issue which Greenbank has been championing for many years. The Global Biodiversity Framework draft was launched in 2021 ahead of the virtual COP15, and we are proud to have participated in a workshop for financial experts to help lay out a vision for how the financial sector could best contribute to achieving the framework’s objectives. This was an important opportunity to help ensure that financial institutions can easily understand the framework and align with the goals that are produced. The second part of COP15 is expected to take place in China, from 25 April 2022, and we hope that this can help build on much-needed momentum in this area.

“Biodiversity is also a key issue for the food industry and, in August last year, we led a coalition of investors and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations), urging the UK government to demonstrate clear leadership and ambition in its response to the National Food Strategy’s recommendations for promoting a healthier and more sustainable food system in the UK.

“The food system is a major driver of climate change and biodiversity loss. At the same time, incidences of obesity – a key risk factor in cases of severe Covid-19 – are rising across the world, and awareness is growing of labour rights concerns in global food chains. This is an area we intend to focus on again strongly in 2022.”

Just Transition

Climate change has been the predominant ESG theme for 2021, with wild weather events providing the curtain opener for COP26. While there have been pages of analysis on COP26 - and Greenbank welcomes the commitments made to go further and faster on decarbonisation - it is really about focusing on where climate change and social factors interconnect.

Last year, the annual Rathbone Greenbank Investor Day was held on the topic of the ‘just transition’; that is ensuring that the transition to net zero remains fair for all participants.

Further to this, Greenbank also commissioned research and launched the Financing a Just Transition report

Kate says: “The UK’s commitment to a net zero economy carries with it the potential to create large numbers of new jobs, as new industries emerge - and existing industries expand - to replace products and processes that become obsolete, as we adapt to new low carbon innovations, regulations and consumer preferences. While the analysis is specific to the UK economy as our chosen case study, our recommendations for investors are relevant at global, national and local levels, and this is an area we plan to continue to champion in 2022.”

Melville Douglas
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