The Irish government needs to be at the forefront of climate change finance and use its expertise in asset management to help create “a new class” of green asset, says the country’s new Environment Minister Richard Bruton.The veteran politician took up the role of Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment last month.
“We need to move from being a follower to being a leader in terms of climate change,” he said. Being a follower would entail costs, he told the Climate-KIC conference in Dublin.
He called for an ‘all-of-government’ approach to the climate challenge, akin to the cross-government response to the financial crisis which hit Ireland particularly badly. “We need the same decisive approach.” He pointed out that Ireland already has a €500m Climate Action Fund.
The remarks came among a busy week of events called Climate Week Ireland, with Dublin being named as the European ‘node’ of the new United Nations International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S).
Bruton called this a “real opportunity for Ireland” with its strong base of skills in asset management and “cluster of talent”.
“It’s important we create this new class of asset” that must be “viable for investors”. He pointed to the recent oversubscribed Irish green bond.
He also addressed Ireland’s own fossil fuel intensive energy networks, saying “we need to migrate out of those as quickly as possible”. He added the government need to articulate a “trajectory over time” towards a carbon price.
Also as part of the week of events, Sustainable & Responsible Investment Forum (SIF) Ireland launched its inaugural Responsible Investment State of Play Report, which found that half of Irish-located asset managers have put in place a sustainability-themed strategy. Backed by fund manager Irish Life, it surveyed Irish domiciled fund managers that collectively manage €77 billion of funds.
Financial services minister Michael D’Arcy said the report points to a “ strong base of activity” of responsible investment in Ireland. “I look forward to supporting the continued growth of this sector in Ireland.”
Daniel Brooksbank, Responsible Investor, 08/11/18