Investors worth €11trn call for European green recovery from Covid-19 pandemic

Investments into the climate tech market are sliding down year on year

A letter from 109 investors has been sent to leaders and decision-makers across the European Union (EU) demanding that a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is delivered. The investors represent €11.9trn in assets under management or advice – more than the combined DP of Germany, France, Italy and Spain,

The letter has been coordinated by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) in coordination with Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and CDP.

Investors are calling for an “accelerated transition to a net-zero emissions economy” that is in line with the Paris Agreement and the recently published European Green Deal.

“European leaders must deliver a recovery that supports the ambitions set out in the Green Deal,” the IIGCC’s chief executive Stephanie Pfeifer said.

“We can’t ignore the dual challenge of the climate and economic crisis. Financial decisions made over the following 12 months will shape the global economy for the next decade and beyond, and determine whether we have built the foundations for a sustainable future. A green recovery is the only option when the alternative means further carbon lock-in and fuelling the climate crisis for decades to come.”

Investors are becoming increasingly vocal on the need for a green recovery from the pandemic that does not lock in fossil fuels to the future economy.

More than 50 chief executive from the banking and insurance sector – including BNP Paribas, AXA, Allianz, and Santander – have joined the “green recovery alliance” in the European Parliament.

The alliance is committed to supporting post-pandemic “stimulus transformation plans” that places biodiversity and climate change as the central pillar of Europe’s economic policies.

Since then, the European Commission has confirmed that the proposed €750bn fund to help the bloc recover from the coronavirus crisis will have 25% of all funding set aside for climate action.

The fund builds on the European Green Deal, set out before the pandemic. Headline targets listed in the Green Deal include a 50-55% emissions reduction target for 2030; a climate law to reach net-zero emissions by 2050; a transition fund worth €100bn and a series of new sector policies to ensure all industries are able to decarbonise.

Despite growing investor interest in the green recovery, campaign groups are calling for more action.

A collection of NGOs have written to some of the world’s largest insurers, calling on them to address economic responses to the coronavirus outbreak in ways that are aligned with the urgent need to combat the climate crisis and steer the global economy towards a net-zero future.

A letter has been sent to board members of global insurer coalitions including, the Global Federation of Insurance Associations, the Pan-European Insurance Forum, the International Insurance Society and the Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance. It calls on the organisations to divest from fossil fuels and commit to phasing out oil and gas companies in line with the 1.5C pathway.

“As European countries cautiously lift COVID-19 lockdowns put in place to save human lives, the focus on economic recovery must prioritise building the sustainable and resilient society that we need,” CDP’s chief executive Paul Simpson added.

“We, therefore, urge investors, regulators and policymakers to work together to ensure that finance flows are aligned with the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. We must ensure that long term renewal packages accelerate our economy into one that is more resilient, inclusive, and zero-carbon in order to avoid greater risk from the climate crisis.”

Matt Mace

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