Hopeful Steps in Need of Accountability: The role of investors, companies, and governments ahead of COP29
Lauren Compere, Managing Director/Head of Stewardship & Engagement
I was honored to participate in COP28 in Dubai and voice investor concerns on critical issues such as integrating nature & biodiversity into climate action; including public health in the climate agenda; recognizing needs for food systems transformation as part of climate solutions; and redefining corporate accountability and integrating climate goals in global standards.
During the summit, I spoke on several panels alongside some of Boston Common’s global partners, including the International Corporate Governance Network, the World Benchmarking Alliance, and the Food Foundation. Key issues addressed at COP28 included:
- “Transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly, and equitable manner” is essential to reach net zero by 2050.
- Phasedown of coal and reducing methane emissions.
- Revised, robust climate pledges by 2025 from global governments.
Notable COP28 outcomes:
- Initiation of a loss and damage fund with initial commitments of $700 million to support low-income nations that are unduly impacted by climate.
- Formal recognition that halting and reversing deforestation by 2030 is necessary to achieve the Paris Agreement.
- Commitment to triple renewable energy by 2030.
I am hopeful that these outcomes will translate into tangible results, and I recognize my responsibility and opportunity to contribute. Financial institutions and investors are key stakeholders and must encourage governments, boards, and companies to ensure we are on the right trajectory for 2030. This will be a stewardship and engagement focus for Boston Common over the next 12 months. As part of that focus, I am calling on investors, companies, and governments to act on:
Biodiversity and Nature – Company boards and executives need to move from being “nature-aware” to “nature-competent” and follow the guidance of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TFND). This can be accomplished by supporting internal and external education and action that focuses on adding sustainability expertise to boards, integrating a systems approach to climate and nature, applying a biodiversity assessment to inform decision-making, and formalizing board accountability and oversight.
Health and Wellbeing – Companies, investors, and governments must transform food systems and consider the intersectionality of climate risk and its impact on people and the planet, including via food waste, biodiversity loss, and food insecurity. Stakeholders must leverage data and benchmarks like the Access to Nutrition Index and the WBA Nature Benchmark and support collaborative stewardship that focuses on aligning corporate practice with public health and wellbeing.
Embedding Corporate Accountability of the Paris Agreement – Closing the corporate accountability gap is essential to achieving the Paris Agreement. Global agendas, standards, and regulations must embed Paris Agreement expectations and align with Net Zero by 2050 with support from mandatory climate disclosure across markets. The lack of a global standard for climate disclosure is a significant roadblock to progress. ISSB S1 and S2—recently adopted by over 100 markets—provide a global baseline for sustainability-related disclosures for companies.
At Boston Common, we are committed to achieving net zero by 2050 and supporting the transition to a sustainable economy through our investments, stewardship, public policy efforts, and engagement activities. We continue to raise accountability standards with holdings by asking for the adoption of robust climate interim targets for Scope 1, 2, and 3 by 2030. Our expertise is a resource to companies as they advance corporate focus and climate action.