A Swedish Letter to Argentina

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – This week, ahead of the G20, which will take place in Argentina, Alecta’s Magnus Billing, SPP Fonder’s Åsa Wallenberg, AP7’s Richard Gröttheim and AP4’s Niklas Ekvall joined their pens to write a letter advocating the need for the global financial sector to contribute to solving the world’s climate problems.

    We translated the letter from Swedish. “What is required for global capital to drive development to achieve a sustainable world by 2030?” the letter starts.

    “Financial actors have a major responsibility for achieving a sustainable world by 2030. An increased amount of capital is invested by taking into account Agenda 2030 and the 17 global sustainability goals. But the recurring question is how we can go from millions to billions, and from billions to trillions regarding capital that is actively invested in line with these objectives. One of the global goals is the seventeenth SDG ‘Partnership for the Goals’. A cooperation to achieve results. We have come a long way there in the financial sector in Sweden but that is not enough. The climate issue is global and must be solved internationally. Therefore, we have been invited to participate and share our experience and knowledge at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires to drive international cooperation in the presence of G20 leaders and finance ministers.”

    “In 2015, The UN General Assembly adopted the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. The agenda means that all 193 member states of the UN have committed to working to achieve a social, environmentally and economically sustainable world by 2030.”

    “Furthermore, the world’s countries must intensify their ambitions to achieve the goals set by the Paris agreement to keep warming well below 2 degrees, with the ambition to reach only 1.5 degrees. The hope is not for us to reach the goal as the UN climate panel, the IPCC concluded earlier this fall, but it requires that we take vigorous action to drive change.”

    “The development of the 17 sustainable development goals has been very important as it provided a clear roadmap for all to follow. Sweden has set the ambition to be the leader in the implementation of that agenda. And Sweden is on the right track.”

    “The financial sector has a key role in sustainable development, as financial actors can influence development through direct ownership, corporate governance, voting at general meetings or by demanding reporting and transparency.”

    “Financial institutions in Sweden work intensively to take into account the objectives of asset management. The lessons we have learned in Sweden, that our beneficiaries and savers do not need to give up returns for increased sustainability, are lessons financial actors globally are also increasingly learning.”

    “No sector can solve sustainability challenges by itself. Instead we actively need to seek collaborations between investors, companies, authorities and associations to superseed self-interests and conflicts. Crucially, politicians need to create broad international agreements and regulations, such as relevant pricing for carbon dioxide emissions, to direct producers, consumers and investors towards more sustainable development.”

    “In the Swedish financial industry we have already experienced how co-operation can generate results, through the partnership Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development (SISD) where 18 Swedish investors, banks, pension companies and investment companies together with SIDA cooperate to promote work on global sustainability goals.”

    “Our Swedish experience that show the advantages of co-operating to find solutions linked to sustainability goals, can serve as a model globally. The partnership has lead to bigger and better results than what could have been achieved individually.”

    “SISD is a ‘loose’ network, where members make their own decisions about which of the 17 goals they want to focus and collaborate on. This has become a successful format with stronger commitment to achieving results. It has resulted in specific actions linked to Objectives 5, 6, 8, 11 and 16 from different members of the SISD. Opportunities for a similar global co-operation initiative are enormous.”

    “Europe is currently leading in implementing measures to achieve the Paris Agreement’s commitment to keeping global warming below 2 degrees. The EU has already achieved a reduction of 22% in carbon dioxide emissions compared to 1990. In order to promote an increased supply of green and sustainable investment opportunities and facilitate and streamline decision on sustainable investments, the EU is already moving to legislate for greater transparency in the investment processes and driving the development of climate risk analysis and scenario analysis, ie a more sustainable and forward-looking financial market. But the goal is to agree globally.”

    “One of the important lessons learned is that, to successfully achieve global cooperation in the financial sector on the sustainable objectives, priorities must be anchored at a high level within organisations. Taking into account the sustainability of asset management should not be a competitive disadvantage, but instead, should be consistent with running a profitable business. Without these criteria, the financial industry will not accept the change.”

    “More financial actors all over the world must see the possibility of financing the transition to a sustainable economy with carbon dioxide emissions . With the experience we have in Sweden, we can show that the global financial sector has great potential to take responsibility for achieving a sustainable world 2030. Through partnership we can achieve change and by taking the lead and leading the way, we hope that more people will follow the direction the Nordics and Europe are following. For global challenges require an international cooperation.”

    Magnus Billing, Alecta
    Åsa Wallenberg, SPP Fonder
    Richard Gröttheim, AP7
    Niklas Ekvall, AP4

    Picture courtesy of Storebrand SPP

    From left to right: Magnus Billing, Niklas Ekvall, Åsa Wallenberg, Richard Gröttheim

    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA is Editor-in-Chief for NordSIP and Managing Director for Big Green Tree Media. She has 18 years of experience in the asset management industry in Stockholm, London and Geneva, including as a long/short equity hedge fund portfolio manager, and buy-side analyst, but also as CFO and COO in several asset management firms. Aline holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a License in Economic Sciences from the University of Geneva.

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