The Buzz of Green Bonds and Gender Equality
NordSIP celebrated International Women’s Day (March 8th) with the class and grace that can only be used to describe the 14 female leaders in sustainable investment profiled on NordSIP this week. The women discuss their stories of rising to the top of their profession, obstacles encountered and the importance of gender equality as both an immanent and transcending imperative of sustainable investing. Also celebrating was SPP/Storebrand’s €360 million Green bond fund, the largest UCITS dedicated green bond fund in the world, which reached the industry milestone of its third anniversary this week. Despite misgivings about the slow progress in green finance, fund manager Helena Lindahl is encouraged by the fund’s success, market demand and impending regulatory changes “The wind is blowing in the right direction, and it’s a strong tailwind,” she told NordSIP in an interview. Meanwhile, in anticipation of regulatory guidelines on Responsible Investment to be published soon in Denmark, Forsikring & Pension Assistant Director Karsten Beltoft suggests there is no contradiction between assuming social responsibility and ensuring the best financial returns – although the balance can be difficult.
In rather more unsustainable news, a paper by researchers at the Vienna-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) rang alert bells. They found that the risk of missing the Paris Agreement target of limiting the global mean temperature rise to 1.5˚ Celsius this century is considerably heightened under economic scenarios that include a high degree of economic inequality and economic growth powered by carbon emissions, a correlation in and of itself that should deeply trouble policymakers. The Lego Group has begun production of its first sustainable building blocks with plastic made from polyethylene based on sugar cane material. The initiative extends to select Lego products so far, but the company will ramp up its DKK 1 billion-research investment in the years to come (Lego experienced a financially challenging 2017, it also emerged). Elsewhere, the Törneby solar park at the Kalmar Öland airport in Swedish Småland is experiencing a surge of local private investor interest in what will become Sweden’s largest solar park (NordSIP).
Heard on E-Street
Do Green Bonds do more harm than good? While they’re designed to fund projects that have a positive environmental impact, they are also being used as a mask for environmental destruction, argues clean energy investor/entrepreneur Assaad Razzouk (eco-business.com). Elsewhere, “Sustaintech” signals the breakdown of the sustainability status quo imposed by the cleantech sector by disruptive innovation and the Internet of Things, suggests Tsing Capital founder Don Ye (ReadWrite). Spain’s BBVA bank pledged to help mobilise €100 billion in green finance and sustainable infrastructures, to cut its CO2 emissions by 68% and switch 70% of its energy consumption to renewable resources by 2025 (OilPrice).
Question of the Week
What is the World Benchmarking Alliance?
Famous Last Words
“I think the United States’ decision to withdraw from [the] Paris agreement really creates a serious problem. What President Trump has been saying is politically shortsighted and scientifically based on wrong advice; I don’t know who advised him.” – Not Gary Cohn, apparently. Former United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon in an interview with The Guardian, suggesting that the private sector would have to step up to fill the climate funding void left by the US withdrawal from Paris (Guardian).
So much to do, so little time. Happy weekend,
Your NordSIP team
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