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On November 15, Sanlam Investments hosted its final Critical Conversations thought-leadership discussion for 2021. The event shone a light on the future of sustainability and examine how the outcomes of COP26 — in particular the R131bn capital commitment to SA — might affect the future.

Among the questions debated were:

  • What will the world look like in 2030, and even 2100, if the pace of sustainability remains slow?
  • What do we need to do to achieve prosperity and peace for all people in the future?
  • What are the small steps and giant leaps we need to take to get there?
  • What needs to change in SA and how do we harness political and investor will to get there?

During a Critical Conversations session in September, more than half the audience said they believed renewable energies offered the most attractive sustainable investment opportunity. And with SA now the 12th-worst greenhouse gas emitter in the world, a discussion around renewable energy is likely to feature strongly in the coming event.

With a pledge of R131bn in aid towards a more sustainable economy, SA must decide how to deliver the goods. Picture: 123RF/PITINAN
With a pledge of R131bn in aid towards a more sustainable economy, SA must decide how to deliver the goods. Picture: 123RF/PITINAN

“We need to fundamentally change the way we view investing right now. Profits are important, but we need to ensure they are anchored in sustainable practices. As an industry, asset managers are in a powerful position to lead investors, big corporates and the public sector into being sustainability-led,” says Sanlam Investments CEO Nersan Naidoo.

He explains that sustainability-led investing has embedded economic, social and governance factors as the investment principles guiding portfolio management.

“It looks at the impact beyond the numbers and incorporates the impact on people and the planet too,” he says.

The future of sustainability: Small steps & giant leaps

The panellists included:

  • Dr Roze Phillips: executive director at GIBS;
  • Nancy Giordano: strategic futurist;
  • Glenn Silverman: director and investment strategist at RisCura; and
  • Nersan Naidoo: CEO of Sanlam Investments.

 

This article was paid for by Sanlam Investments.

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