On 18 July, Mandela Day, Fossil Free South Africa invited friends and partners from SA civil society to learn more about the possibilities and limitations of socially responsible investment.
Together with guests Brad McWalter of McWalter Advisory and Ashley Daswa of Sanlam they delved into how investments can be reframed for justice and sustainability in a world in dire need of both.
After Sarah Robyn Farrell introduced the concept and panel, David Le Page kicked off the discussion with a presentation including some sobering updates on climate change science and statistics.
He ended with a quote by Kate Raworth:
“Today’s economy is divisive and degenerative by default. Tomorrow’s economy must be distributive and regenerative by design.”
It’s often hard to find the balance between acknowledging the facts of climate change and finding hope, so we really recommend this article in The Guardian from climate scientists, Michael Mann and Susan Joy Hassol, who conclude that:
“If the extremes of this summer fill you with fears of imminent and inevitable climate collapse, remember, it’s not game over. It’s game on.”
Following David’s presentation, Ashley Daswa unpacked different aspects of the investment landscape including the reality of Global South (e.g. South Africa) contexts, stressing that for us to really champion justice, we have to be considerate of the most affected communities.
“Our work should be focused on making sure we transition justly, which is to say no one can be left behind,” said Ashley. Among other things, Ashley touched on how investment portfolios can be influenced by activism and the importance of moving through the just transition while also safeguarding financial returns.
Brad McWalter spoke about the ability to create well rounded global and local investment portfolios. He named a few local options which provide more sustainability credentials than others, such as the Sanlam Living Planet Fund. He also spoke about how many investors are not aware that with a financial advisor they can custom build solutions to align with their responsible investment goals. He did however stress that the regulators must be willing to adopt the same movement and allow for investors to make these decisions.
Further links and info:
- For more insight into the rest of the conversation you can watch the full recording here.
- One question that was asked during the event was this: Doesn’t divestment just lead to more irresponsible investors taking over fossil fuel investments? It’s an important question, and here is a detailed answer.
- The Just Share 2021 survey on asset managers concludes that “few SA asset managers meet global best practice standards on climate.”
- Check out David’s slide update on climate crisis and fossil fuel industry culpability.
Source: Fossil Free South Africa