Folksam CEO meets with UN Secretary-General to discuss the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

5 February 2021


United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has on several occasions highlighted the importance of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance’s work for the climate. Recently, Folksam’s CEO and ICMIF Board Member Ylva Wessén was invited to a meeting to discuss the financial industry’s role in the transition to a more sustainable world.

ICMIF member Folksam (Sweden) has a long tradition of working with responsible asset management and was one of the founders of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. The alliance brings together a total of 33 institutional owners, who together manage more than USD 5.1 trillion of assets with the common goal that the investment portfolios will reach net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.

“Climate change is a major challenge for the world, but at the same time one of the great economic opportunities of our time. A fossil-free economy requires new technology and new innovations, and this transition will obviously need funding in the coming years. This means good opportunities for a good return and is simply an opportunity that we investors need to take advantage of,” says Ylva Wessén.

At the meeting, the UN Secretary-General highlighted how investors can influence new initiatives and decisions as well as the pace of implementation to reach net-zero in the financial industry, and by extension for the economy as a whole.

In order for investors to be able to more clearly influence strategies and objectives and put pressure through the investments that are made, transparent climate strategies and clear goals from companies are required.

“By cooperating, as we do within the Net-Zero Alliance, we can put pressure on companies to contribute to climate change. It requires that we work together, both we as investors, but also the legislators and all organisations representing civil society. It is only together that we can achieve the climate goals that have been set,” says Ylva Wessén.

After the meeting, Guterres referred to the 33-member Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance as being the “gold standard” following a slew of net-zero commitments in recent months.

Read more about the meeting on the UN website.

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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