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Allianz aims to double net zero asset commitments, says CEO at Davos

21st January 2020 - Author: Luke Gallin

Oliver Bäte, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of global insurer and reinsurer Allianz, has said that through meetings with various investors at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the firm is looking to get a doubling of the commitments made under the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.

Oliver BäteThe Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance was initiated by Allianz, Caisse des Dépôts, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Folksam Group, PensionDanmark, and Swiss Re at the beginning of 2019.

The Alliance represents more than USD 2.4 trillion and was convened by the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative and the Principles for Responsible Investment, with support by the WWF. Its aim is to promote responsible investment practices that can help to fight climate change by limiting the rise in global temperature to no more than 1.5°C warming.

Speaking today at the 2020 annual meeting of the WEF in Davos, Allianz CEO Bäte and other speakers on the panel, ‘Averting a climate apocalypse’, responded to introductory comments from climate activist Greta Thunberg around the need to not achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but to achieve real zero, today.

“We have to be between outrage and optimism,” said Bäte. “Now, you can debate the 2050, but the reality is we started with USD 2.4 trillion committed to goal net zero, and probably by the end of the week we would have more than doubled it.”

Panel moderator, Rebecca Blumenstein from The New York Times, questioned Bäte on this and asked him to confirm if Allianz, through meetings with various investors at Davos, is trying to get a doubling of the commitments.

“Yes,” replied Bäte, adding that the key constituents group is the sovereign wealth funds. So far, the sovereign wealth funds are yet to sign up to the alliance and the CEO stressed the need for regions such as Japan and China to participate so that trillions of dollars of commitments can be mobilised in the right direction.

“But first, they need to commit and then we can talk about acceleration,” said Bäte.

A more than doubling of the commitments made is perhaps ambitious, but as noted by all of the speakers on the panel, targets need to be ambitious if any real change is going to happen.

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