In this issue of the Greenbank Review, we report on our Investor Day held in June. The discussion focused on the theme of technological solutions that will help drive the transition towards net zero.
Greenbank Investor Day Review 2023
'Climate change poses an existential threat to society and the planet on which we depend. I'm sorry for a rather stark introduction to the 2023 edition of the Greenbank Review but if it sounds like hyperbole, it is worth noting that seven of the World Economic Forum’s top ten, ten-year risks, are climate change related. So we clearly have a problem.'
John David, Head of Greenbank
Greenbank has focussed on the theme of climate change for many years and we have a long history of climate-aligned investing. The theme of our 2023 investor day, “Unlocking a net zero future”, is closely aligned with our own net zero ambition – to become a net zero emissions investor by 2040.
At this, our 26th annual Investor Day, our speakers outlined the challenge of climate change and explored some of the technological innovations driving the change needed in our energy system to help meet the climate crisis head on. Advances in technology are critical in delivering the much-needed ‘greening’ of our energy system to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement, which commits nation state signatories to a range of climate mitigation goals, including limiting the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
During the day, Kate Elliot, our head of ethical, sustainable and impact (ESI) research, explained the term ‘net zero’ and how, through engagement with our investee companies, Greenbank can hold companies to account. Kate explained how this might be simply through open and constructive dialogue, or more forceful investor tools such as voting on or ﬁling shareholder resolutions. Kai Johns, a senior researcher in the Greenbank ESI research team highlighted how we monitor the alignment of all Greenbank holdings in relation to net zero and how this intersects with the eight sustainable investment themes that underpin our portfolios. And we were delighted to welcome our guest speakers: Catherine Raw (Managing Director of SSE Thermal), David Bryon (Chief Financial Oﬃcer of First Light Fusion), and John Flaherty (Managing Director of Grid Scale Energy Storage, SMS Plc) all giving an insight into how their businesses are playing a part in the path to a cleaner energy system and net zero future.
As you will read, despite some extraordinary technological innovation, there was no sense from our speakers that all is yet in hand. Whilst solutions are being developed and gradually implemented, they need to be delivered at scale and pace if we are to address the climate crisis. And time is not on our side. Recent research from the CCC (Climate Change Committee, an independent non-departmental public body) described UK government eﬀorts to scale up climate action as “worryingly slow.” The UK is not alone. There is a clear need for innovation and action, but this must be backed up by global policy development and implementation.
The Greenbank team remains at the forefront of the drive for sustainable development and investment. Our team continues to grow – as does our service proposition. Our drivers remain constant – the desire to help our clients invest in line with their values and in a way that has a positive impact for both people and planet. We share our clients’ commitment to see investment capital as a driver of positive change in a world facing a broad range of challenges, and we are delighted to be of service.
We hope you enjoy reading this issue of the Greenbank Review and we look forward to our Investor Day 2024.