BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
ABOUT half of people in Ireland have engaged in consumer actions to reduce climate change in the last year. Most favour spending carbon tax revenues on programmes to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for climate change impacts, according to the latest report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Some of the key findings include:
- 76% say they know at least a moderate amount about climate change
- 96% of people agree that climate change is happening
- 60% say the change is caused by human activity
- and 33% saying the cause is equally human and natural changes.
- 85% are worried about climate change and believe we are harming the planet for future generations.
Regarding the weather, 88% think climate change is the problem and believe that in the next 10 years a high percentage of people in Ireland will become increasingly exposed to the result of climate change that we currently see happening elsewhere like rising sea levels, water shortages, flooding and a rise in agricultural pests and diseases.
However, Irish people are positive about the economic and quality of life benefits that can be achieved through climate change action, where 62% think such action will improve economic growth and create jobs, and 78% that acting now will improve Ireland’s quality of life into the future.
People are willing to take political action to reduce climate change with about half indicating they have changed the way they now shop and intend to increase their ‘consumer activism’ in the next year.
Nine in 10 believe that politicians, the Government, and businesses should be doing a whole lot more while 78% say they should be doing more. With many not sure how to proceed, how about using your money?
Insurance Companies have implemented Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) procedures, including comprehensive data and technology solutions that allow their portfolio managers to see and interrogate ESG metrics into investment processes.
According to Aviva this allows them to review where they invest their shareholders’ and your money, thereby giving us, the clients, access to a range of investments that they believe “offer the best potential of generating strong returns over the long-term while supporting significant progress towards a fairer and more sustainable world”.
Zurich states in their brochures that they are committed to Responsible Investment and is a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment which is all about “doing well and doing good”.
Irish Life on their website want you to know that “they will do right by your money”.
Why are insurance companies moving in this direction? According to New Ireland, it’s due to “a major shift in emphasis with investors towards accomplishing the goal of a better financial future, while at the same time, helping the world to be a better place”.
But, also, it’s due to the EU driving change on ESG. They have identified 64 adverse impact indicators, of which 18 will be mandatory to report on and 46 will be voluntary.
The 18 indicators consider standard ESG factors including greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, water, waste, violation of global standards, unadjusted gender pay gap, board gender diversity and xxposure to controversial weapons.
Insurance and investment companies must give an undertaking that they will start considering these 18 principles by a certain date, and endeavour to develop systems that will implement ways to integrate the other adverse impact indicators.
Insurance company websites have areas now devoted to ESG funds. Let’s do a little research over the Christmas period and consider what we could do with some of the funds in our savings policies and pension plans and make adjustments that will not only increase our wealth but bring good cheer to all people everywhere.