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Davos of hope for a low-carbon future

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On 21 January, at a dinner in Davos hosted by We Mean Business and the Carbon Disclosure Project that we helped to produce, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman welcomed over 80 guests to a discussion on “The End of the Oil Age: Taking low carbon mainstream.” “There’re a lot of bad-news dinners in Davos. You all came to the good-news dinner,” he said. The room was packed and energised and ready to hear leaders on carbon pricing make their case and hold laggards accountable.

Friedman began by speaking with Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), who reminded us of the moral and political need for “just transitions”. José Manuel Entrecanales, CEO of Acciona, emphasised the direction of travel for scaling investment in renewable energy after the UN COP21 climate talks in Paris, and Mats Andersson, CEO of the Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund (AP4), ended on a bullish note: he has begun decarbonising their portfolio and put billions of AP4’s assets in low-carbon strategies; the trend has been set.

The next day, we helped produce an event for a smaller group of business executives and leadership from the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) to discuss sustainable investing, what disclosure of carbon risk really means for investors and industries, and the necessity of substantive carbon pricing. CTI used this meeting to launch its report, “Considerations for reporting disclosure in a carbon-constrained world”, which includes proposals for risk reporting by fossil-fuel companies.

That people are not sitting on their laurels after the UN climate talks was a welcome sight. Participants arrived ready to engage in building concrete solutions, and in challenging themselves, their companies and their peers to take substantive next steps. Davos was only the start. 2016 will play host to many more gatherings during which these conversations can be continued and further action taken.

At Kite Global Advisors, we’re proud to help curate such rich exchanges in Davos.

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