- At EOS we have long advocated for a just transition, to ensure that the shift to net zero happens at the pace and scale required.
- Our engagement approach on the just transition spans reskilling, local community impacts, and supporting customers through the energy transition.
- EOS has also been at the forefront of advocating for the protection and conservation of the natural world and our related engagement intensified in 2023.
2023 was an eventful year of record-breaking temperatures, signalling that the stakes for COP28 could not have been higher, and I was privileged to attend the summit in Dubai. In recent years there has been greater acknowledgement that policymakers and companies need to raise their ambitions around climate, and in Dubai I was encouraged to see fresh attempts to address some longstanding issues in the global energy and food systems.
For the first time, a deal was reached to transition away from fossil fuels in a just, orderly and equitable manner. We also saw a commitment by over 50 oil and gas companies to reach near zero methane emissions by 2030, and a pledge of over US$7bn to help farmers reduce their emissions, and adapt to climate change through innovation and regenerative agriculture.
Such commitments are essential if we are to move away from carbon-intensive approaches and maintain the availability of energy and other essential consumer goods and services. The business case for doing so is becoming clearer, and something we emphasise in EOS’s engagements.
At EOS we have long advocated for a just transition, because without a plan to make the transition to net zero one that considers the needs of the ordinary consumer and worker, it is unlikely to happen at the pace and scale required. Energy, food, and work are among our most basic needs. Making sure they remain available to, and affordable for all is therefore essential.
Progressive subsidies can play a role in boosting renewable energy supplies, while limiting food waste and reducing meat consumption can help mitigate environmental harm. Throughout 2023, EOS engaged with food manufacturers and retailers asking them to consider how they could positively influence consumer behaviour to encourage more sustainable choices.
Our engagement approach on the just transition also spans reskilling, local community impacts, and supporting customers through the energy transition. We also encourage companies to pay the living wage and provide sufficient hours – green economy jobs must be attractive to help build support for the transition.
Nature increasingly at the fore
COP28 also presented an opportunity for countries to discuss the progress made since the biodiversity COP15, and to focus on effectively integrating nature into the response to climate change. Many countries pledged funding, such as the UK, which announced more than £85m to tackle global deforestation, but a large funding gap for nature-based solutions remains.
EOS has been at the forefront of advocating for the protection and conservation of the natural world and our related engagement has intensified. At COP28, Federated Hermes Limited announced its intention to work with the Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet on innovative investment solutions. The ambition is to create a scalable platform that aligns impact-focused patient capital with the development needs of countries on the frontlines of climate change.
Some of the biggest challenges facing the transition to a low-carbon economy are social rather than simply technical. Therefore, successfully addressing climate change means considering financial and wellbeing impacts, particularly for those likely to be adversely affected by the transition. We aim to continue doing so through our engagement, which is carried out on behalf of our clients and their underlying beneficiaries.
Without a just transition there will be no transition.