There is a lot in the news at the moment regarding climate change and the state of emergency the world is in. The effects of greenhouse gases (GHG) already emitted are considered wholly irreversible, and unless there is a targeted, collective approach to lowering carbon emissions, the world is doomed. Exactly how the world is doomed is unclear: no scientist or futurist is able to give a definitive forecast of how the earth will look if the advice to lower carbon emissions remains unheeded.
But to do nothing is to risk everything.
Enter the Paris Agreement, in 2016, a forward-looking policy that clearly states what needs to be done to stop climate disruption. But we all know policy alone is never enough. A policy is a useless, dust-gathering document without ambitious goals and action to back it up.
As asset managers, we have a responsibility to assist in seeking ways to limit the impact of climate change, create mitigation strategies that look at the risks of climate change on existing and planned infrastructure. Asset managers ought to be producing scenarios to find the most sustainable strategies that provide the required service levels with the least consumption of our natural resources, and within the set goals of adhering to climate change goals.
IFM Investors have done exactly that, with reports in August that the portfolio of Australian infrastructure assets it owns have set targets to reduce carbon emissions by 200,000 tonnes by 20301. IFM Investors consider these targets to be an investment into the future of the assets, not purely a political or ideological statement. Ausgrid, platinum partner to the Asset Management Council, and owned by IFM Investors, supplies electricity to more than 1.7 million homes and businesses in NSW. Its carbon footprint is associated with electrical line losses, street light assets, substations and fleet vehicles used to maintain the network and build its portfolio. Ausgrid has already begun the enormous task of converting more than 250,000 public street lights to LED bulbs2.
Changing street light bulbs may seem trivial, but it’s often the little things that matter most, and where the largest impact lies. What are you doing, as asset managers, to reduce GHGs? Let us know by leaving a comment. Perhaps you work for Ausgrid or another of IFM Investors-owned infrastructure assets – we’d love to hear from you.
Also consider joining our Power in Asset Management Special Interest Group. It’s a space where you can connect with other asset managers and enjoy varied networking opportunities.