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Net-Zero-Aligned Investments Increase Nearly Fivefold in 6 Months

The Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative has grown from 30 signatories with $9 trillion in AUM at the end of 2020, to 128 signatories managing $43 trillion today

In order to facilitate the global transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 and reduce the risks climate change poses to their investments, investors are setting commitments to steer their portfolios to net-zero emissions. With COP26 approaching, the first half of 2021 has seen rapid growth in the number and value of assets under management (AUM) aligned with the net-zero goal.

The Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative has grown from 30 signatories with $9 trillion in AUM at the end of 2020, to 128 signatories managing $43 trillion today, representing around 36% of global AUM. The Initiative has joined with the Net-Zero Asset Owners Alliance and Net-Zero Banking Alliance to form the Glasgow Alliance for Net Zero, with over $70 trillion of assets between them.

As more investors align their portfolios with net-zero targets, companies will face mounting investor pressure to adopt credible net-zero transition plans and improve their disclosures of emissions and climate risks.

EU Nears Employment Recovery While US Lags Behind

Impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, neither the United States nor the European Union is at pre-pandemic employment levels. The E.U., however, is closer to a full recovery than the U.S., according to BRINK analysis of OECD and U.S. Bureau Labor and Statistics data.

OECD data show that the European Union’s employment rate dropped less than 1% during the pandemic and has already recovered to nearly pre-pandemic levels. According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the limited impact was mainly “because governments were quick to expand their national job-retention schemes.”

The United States, on the other hand, suffered a substantial dip in the employment rate and — while its increase from 2020 is more dramatic than the E.U. — increased retirements among the great resignation and a mass refusal to work under “poor conditions” have contributed to a slow recovery in 2021, leaving 7.4 million Americans unemployed.

TCFD Support Multiplies Across Countries and Institutions

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has grown from having just 29 supporters in 2016 to more than 2,600 in 2021, amounting to $194 trillion in assets and including over 120 regulatory and governmental entities. It has garnered substantial support from private and public institutions alike. 

Seven jurisdictions are currently working to align their official reporting requirements with TCFD, including the European Union, the United Kingdom and Japan. New Zealand recently became the first country to mandate climate-related financial disclosures in October.

The TCFD was established by the Financial Stability Board in December 2015 to develop a framework for companies and financial institutions to disclose their climate-related risks and opportunities. 

TCFD brings forth opportunities for its supporters to better understand the financial implications of climate change, helping them pivot their business models and allowing their stakeholders to make more accurate decisions on investment, lending and insurance underwriting.

How the Pandemic Changed Urban Mobility Readiness

Stockholm, San Francisco and Singapore are the cities most ready to embrace mobile sustainability, says a new report by Oliver Wyman Forum and the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies.

According to the newly released 2021 Urban Mobility Readiness Index, these cities have invested in new technologies, such as electric vehicles, and now benefit from the shift to remote work following the pandemic. This has reduced congestion and allowed for more physically active mobility options. Stockholm, which topped the list, has invested in electrification and micromobility infrastructures, as more of its residents embrace a walking or cycling lifestyle.

Not in the top 10 is New York City, whose index score dropped as more people continue to move out of the state compared to before the pandemic. Those who stayed bought private vehicles due to restrictions and lack of trust in public transportation during the pandemic.

Countries in Asia and Middle East Lead the World in 5G Reach

Hong Kong, South Korea and Kuwait lead the world in 5G reach.

Hong Kong, South Korea and Kuwait lead the world in 5G reach, according to Open Signal, a mobile network analysis company. The score measures the percentage of locations where 5G is available on a scale of 0 to 10. 

Small island countries like Hong Kong and South Korea, known for their well-established infrastructure, have the broadest 5G reach. Kuwait also has historically invested in 5G to supplant its poor broadband infrastructure. The score for the U.S. will likely increase as competition between telecom countries ramps up.

As more countries invest in 5G, more users will be able to participate in the global economy. “Without adequate internet penetration for high-bandwidth mobile technologies, harnessing fintech to achieve financial inclusion will continue to be difficult, even with a high mobile subscription level,” wrote CAREC Institute’s Khalid Umar. Also of note, while countries are investing in 5G, the next generation of mobile networks is already being developed with the intent of being deployed by 2030.

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