Big Money seems to be getting the message: after Al Gore told an audience worth $20 trillion in capital that its polluting investments should be considered "subprime", US institutional investors pledged last Thursday to invest $10 billion over the next two years in emissions-reducing technologies. The investors also agreed to pressure companies to disclose climate change-associated risks and to incorporate green building standards into their investments.
Calling energy efficiency "one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to significantly reduce emissions and improve the bottom line," the investor group pledged to reduce energy use in core real estate holdings by 20 percent over the next three years.
The 2008 Investor Summit on Climate Risk, organized by the United Nations and an NGO called Ceres, brought together institutional investors along with Wall Street types and CEO's to discuss the risks and economic opportunities associated with climate change.
Also presented at the conference was a report by global consulting firm McKinsey which concluded that investments in energy productivity and efficiency could earn investors double-digit returns. The conference produced an "Action Plan" for greening investments, which lays out a series of steps to be taken over the next few years, signed by a long list of CEO's, state treasurers and presidents of foundations.