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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.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

Annual global greenhouse emissions rose by a record 6.4% last year, eclipsing gains made during 2020 lockdowns, reports the International Monetary Fund. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide decreased by 4.6% in 2020 as pandemic restrictions limited travel and economic activity.

Industry, as opposed to individuals, was the most significant contributor to emissions in 2021. The manufacturing and energy sectors had the greatest increase in greenhouse gases, while transportation and household levels rose more modestly as COVID-19 restrictions continued.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report warns that greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 at the latest — and decrease 43% by 2030 — in order to limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius. Limiting global warming “will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen),” said the IPCC.

The Riskiest Cities for Business Are in the Americas

Latin America has more than 60% of the most crime-stricken cities in the world, and crime risks are also rising in the U.S., according to analysis from consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.

Maplecroft analyzed which areas of the world present the biggest security threats to companies and their employees, assets and supply chains. The 100 most dangerous cities are distributed over the globe, with 33 cities from the Americas, 33 from Africa, 19 from Asia, 14 from MENA, and one from Europe (Kyiv).

Sixty-two of the 100 riskiest cities are in Latin America, with eight cities — including Chihuahua, Medellín and San Salvador — receiving the highest possible risk scores. U.S. cities also performed poorly compared to similarly high-income cities in Europe and East Asia. Cities that featured prominently in their risk index include Baltimore, Memphis and Jacksonville.

Eurozone Inflation Hits Record High

Soaring food and energy costs drove inflation in the eurozone to new highs in June, with consumer prices rising 8.6% since last year. Nearly half of the 19 countries in the euro currency bloc have reached double-digit inflation, including the Baltic region, where prices have risen by 20% or more. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed oil and natural gas prices up by more than 40%, as EU sanctions reduce Russian energy imports by more than half.

As the cost of living increases dramatically, consumers are cutting back and manufacturers are reporting a drop in sales and demand. In the U.K. alone, inflation has outstripped wages for the majority of workers, with one-fifth of British households saying they are struggling to make ends meet. Countries in the eastern eurozone are particularly vulnerable, including Slovakia, where inflation has risen to 12.5%.

The European Central Bank says it will increase rates for the first time in a decade in an attempt to curb inflation and the deteriorating economic outlook.

The US Doesn’t Have Enough EV Charging Stations

More than 50% of the world wants to buy electric cars, but there may not be enough charging stations to meet demand, MIT Technology Review reports. 

The U.S. sold 400,000 electric vehicles (EV) last year, but has only 48,000 EV charging stations across the country — compared to 150,000 gas stations for gas-powered cars. There are even fewer DC fast electric charging stations (6,000), which can recharge an EV battery in minutes instead of hours. Most charging stations are located in large cities or spaced along interstate highways, but much of the country has wide swaths of charging deserts. 

The U.S. administration has promised to increase EV infrastructure by adding a half million chargers by 2030. In contrast, there could be 5 million EV battery charging stations across the EU by 2030 — and double that by 2035, according to a report from Transport and Environment

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