Integration of climate change in the financial sector

Comment by Prime Minister Erna Solberg in a panel debate at One Planet Summit in Paris, 12 December 2017.

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I would like to thank President Macron for hosting this summit, in cooperation with UN Secretary-General Gutteres and World Bank President Kim.

Climate change requires the attention of us all. According to the World Economic Forum and the IMF, it is one of the key global risk factors for the next decade, and a significant risk factor for macroeconomic development.

Climate change affects our daily lives in numerous ways. It also influences corporate earnings and returns for investors.

The financial sector has a crucial role to play, if we are to fulfil the Paris Agreement and reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

My government and I support and will work with president Macron and France to mobilise sovereign wealth funds to advance responsible investment practices.  

The aim is to identify ESG (environmental, social and governance) practices that contribute to good returns on investments.

I am very pleased that Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global has been invited to participate in a working group to move this issue forward.

A number of funds, including ours, have experience of integrating climate risk in asset management. Sharing this experience and identifying best practices could have positive impact locally and globally.

Over the years, the Government Pension Fund Global has worked to increase knowledge and reporting on risks posed by climate change.

The Fund’s approach to climate change is fourfold: it promotes research into, and the development of standards on, climate risk; it puts strong emphasis on risk assessment; it invests in energy transition; and it has clear expectations of sound management of climate risk and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions.

These expectations are included in the dialogue with companies. Companies in high climate-risk sectors are assessed on an annual basis. Emission levels are a key element in the Fund’s risk assessments.

Sovereign wealth funds are uniquely positioned to promote value creation and sustainable market outcomes. They are major, long-term shareholders in the global value chain. Their future returns depend intrinsically on global growth and prosperity.

Norway is happy to be on board this initiative. We look forward to the further process and to the report from the working group. 

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