Prince Charles calls for 'real action' from pensions industry on climate issues

Prince Charles has called for "real action" from the pensions industry to address the climate emergency, highlighting the essential role that pension schemes can play in driving the "urgent and substantial change required".

Speaking at the inaugural PLSA ESG Conference, HRH The Prince of Wales warned that business as usual was no longer an option and that targets were only the first step.

"Your ability to raise and allocate funds for transition and adaptation, to embed greenhouse gas reductions within your organisations' decision making processes, to influence others, and to track and report on progress against these targets, places you at the very heart of the transition," he stated.

"I need hardly say that it would help a great deal if you could use your vital expertise and teams to help support the work of the sector taskforces in my Sustainable Markets Initiative as we examine financing the transition by industry, and as we look at industry standards and metrics."

In particular, Prince Charles called on pension professionals to "add their voice" to the list of leaders who have already signed the Accounting for Sustainability net zero statement of support and the Sustainable Markets Initiative's Terra Carta.

He emphasised that the Terra Carta, which was launched earlier this year, reflects the "considerable progress that has been made in forging consensus on the direction humanity must take, and the milestones we must meet by the middle of the century to secure a sustainable future".

He stated: "I need hardly say that your support, your influence and the impact you could have if you decide to join me on this, would be utterly invaluable.

"Over the past year the devastating pandemic has had a horrifying impact on lives and livelihoods everywhere. Reflecting on that, and all we’ve endured together, it is more clear than ever that human health, economic health and planetary health are fundamentally connected, and that we must find ways to build back sustainably.

"CEOs from organisations large and small have signed the Terra Carta, signalling their support for this roadmap towards a sustainable future by 2030. You never know, your CEO might just want to add his or her name to the list."

HRH was also "encouraged" by the growing number of governments, businesses, and finance leaders committing to net zero, urging more finance professionals to signal their commitment to "the kind of action on the ground that we so desperately need to see".

He stated: "I hate to say this but I’ve spent much of the last 40 years trying to get across the message as to why sustainability matters, and why tackling the twin existential threats of climate change and biodiversity loss is so critical to the future of our entire global economy, and the future of humanity itself. Frankly I’m fed up with all the talking.

"We know now what needs to be done. Setting targets are of course only the first steps; they must sit alongside an extraordinary practical effort to mobilise the financial resources, technical ingenuity and institutional innovation required to realise these goals.

"It is time for real action to tackle the emergency we face on all fronts. Business as usual is no longer an option, and those organisations that invest in the future, by putting nature people and planet at the heart of global value creation, will be the ones to succeed.

"As we look to a brighter and hopefully more sustainable future with our promises kept, I would be most grateful if we can join forces, join up all the dots, and waste no more time.

"The clock is ticking and it really is up to us to make each day count."

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