Despite the obvious challenges of the past 18 months, the Rathbone Greenbank team has been through an exciting and rapid phase of evolution, welcoming many additional colleagues as we further develop our ethical, sustainable and impact proposition and enhance our ability to meet the needs of all our clients.
Financing a just transition
This year we have been delighted to work closely with Rathbones’ funds business to launch the Rathbone Greenbank unitised portfolio solution, offering investment solutions for clients with more modest amounts to invest. Behind every aspect of the Rathbone Greenbank (Greenbank) proposition is a collective vision, shared with our clients, that money can — and should — be utilised as a force for good, bringing about positive change to the world in which we live.
We had hoped that in 2021 we would be able to meet in person for our annual Investor Day, but once again we took the decision to hold our flagship event online.
Our Investor Day theme this year was ‘Financing a just transition’. We explored the role of the financial services sector in putting people and communities at the heart of sustainable investment in pursuit of the UK’s net zero goal.
With over 200 guests joining us, our expert speakers offered their insights, and spoke not just of risks but about the real opportunities associated with the technological, social and economic transformations required to make the shift to a healthier planet and more equitable society.
The term ’just transition’ is used to describe the importance of binding together climate goals with social outcomes, to ensure that human rights are realised in the transition to net zero. We are familiar with the term ‘stranded assets’ and now the phrase ‘stranded people’ is increasingly being used. Highlighting the need for education, reskilling and retraining for workers, our Investor Day reflected on the social impact of low-carbon transition activity.
At Greenbank, we have a long history of climate-aligned investing. We integrate climate risk into our investment decisions and have increased our investments in industries and companies that are contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Earlier this year, we became a signatory to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, and we have continued our efforts to fully embed our eight sustainable development themes across every stage of our investment process. At the same time, we have continued our pioneering role to catalyse the wider market’s action on a range of social and environmental issues, most recently in areas such as decent work, biodiversity, healthy food and investing in safe, secure and sustainable social housing.
The UK’s move towards net zero will not be a straightforward linear transition. The social and economic impact will have a lasting effect, and decarbonising the economy will require significant investment in business, people and the planet with legislative support.
The planned COP26 climate talks in Glasgow later in the year should highlight where progress has been made and where urgent action is still needed, and we hope that it will give fresh impetus to 2015’s Paris Agreement. With the background of Brexit and Covid-19, the need for a joined-up approach is vital, and investment will play a significant part. But the lives and livelihoods of so many working in what is still essentially a fossil fuel economy must be prioritised.
Read the latest edition of Rathbone Greenbank Review here.