Summer 2008

Social conscience

Worldwide investment in sustainable energy more than doubled over a twoyear period, from 2004 to 2006, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep) 2008 year book, an annual overview of the changing global environment.

19 February 2009

The figure rose from $27.5-billion in 2004 to $49.6-billion in 2005, rising to $70.9-billion in 2006. Last year the figure was forecast at $85-billion. The report details a changing approach to sustainability by companies compared to a decade ago, with increased numbers of managers realising the long term benefits of addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Climate change was now “widely recognised” as having an impact on investment values, a realisation embodied in the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. This had been signed by up to 240 asset owners, asset managers, and investment service providers with combined assets of over US$10 trillion.

Companies were also addressing their contributions to climate change. The report cited the example of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) which has been tracking climate change awareness by the top global companies since 2000. In their 2007 reports, the CDP revealed that 79% of the FT500 companies were disclosing their carbon performance, and 57% of South Africa's top 40 companies.

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