#COP26 – Gresham House chief: ESG critical to investment processes

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Ahead of COP26, Tony Dalwood, CEO of sustainable asset management firm, Gresham House, weighs in on clean energy investment in response to the Government’s ESG targets, as well as the investment into reduction and mitigation of carbon emissions and the opportunities for the growth of private capital.

As we look ahead to the COP26 summit in Glasgow next week and the Autumn budget, it is positive to see a focus on the opportunities for investment in renewables and the clean energy transition as we work to prevent, reduce and mitigate the effects of carbon emissions.

As leading investors in the renewables and energy storage sectors, we have seen a significant shift in allocations over the past few years towards investments that support the transition to a low carbon economy.

As the Government’s recent Greening Finance Roadmap to Sustainable Investing highlighted, investors are increasingly seeking and allocating capital to investments that meet both their financial requirements and their evolving sustainability objectives, including net-zero and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets.

As many as 49% of the UK’s assets are embedding ESG across the investment processes which is a positive step forward.

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Moving forward, it is vital that we see investment allocations seek to prevent emissions from rising, reduce emissions across all sectors and mitigate any residual emissions through carbon capture and removal.

Having the right infrastructure in place is essential for us to continue innovating and investing in solutions for the future that can both prevent emissions from rising and reduce emissions rapidly. Carbon capture or removal techniques should be used as part of a strategy once all other methods have been applied to reduce emissions as far as possible, they are the final point of call rather than the starting point.

The COP26 agenda is undoubtedly focused on renewable energy such as solar and wind, but there are a number of other areas that we must address. We must invest further into areas such as battery storage to support the generation and distribution of renewable energy, as well as applying circular economy strategies that better use our finite resources, whilst protecting and enhancing our natural world, including biodiversity.

Additionally, we must consider how to strengthen our food supply, particularly pertinent given the ongoing supply shortages due to a lack of HGV drivers, and how cities and communities can be built more sustainably in the future. For example, through the development of new technologies, such as vertical farming, we can reduce our reliance on food imports whilst reducing the agricultural industry’s impact on the environment by using less water and land.”

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