Climate change could affect the world’s financial assets in a loss of $2.5 trillion, suggests the world’s first estimate from economic modeling.
The consequences of climate change and global warming are astronomical, and not just for the physical world, but for every part and piece of it from the way we live to whether we live at all.
To combat these ramifications, more businesses are making sustainability and environmental health a core part of their company philosophy. One of the best ways to prevent further damage to the health of the earth is for companies to invest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) opportunities, and many organizations are already doing so.
Those organizations include investment firm KKR, which has made significant contributions to water accessibility and food quality in China. KKR’s Global Head of Public Affairs, Ken Mehlman, said in an interview with Bloomberg that KKR has already invested “about $5 billion globally in ESG-driven companies,” from food safety to “an investment in Australia that grows vegetables using sea water and solar energy.”
KKR and other companies investing in ESG are fighting a battle before it becomes a war. Worst-case scenarios about how climate change could affect finance indicate that losses could claim 17% of the world’s assets, or $24 trillion dollars. These results stem from a new study on the impact of unchecked climate change, which could destroy assets via extreme weather or cause a reduction in earnings for people living in high temperatures or areas with drought. Investing in ESG companies and working to reduce the causes of climate change would reduce problems overall, but some industries, like oil, would lose value.
“If we don’t get the policy environment right today it won’t just be the shareholder of insurance companies and banks who will regret this,” said Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer at Aviva, an insurer in the U.K. Businesses and individuals alike need to figure out how they can fight the effects of climate change by performing and investing in sustainable strategies and programs.
“The world will only be saved at a profit, and the only way you are going to make a profit today is to understand the world. ESG can help you do both,” Mehlman said.