GLOBAL - Pension funds could be neglecting their fiduciary responsibilities by ignoring the growing opportunities in climate change-related sectors, an investment bank suggested.
Deutsche Bank said firms specialising in green technologies have gone from speculative investments that "may hold future promise" to showing they are capable of delivering attractive returns and could be the "investment opportunity of a lifetime."
Since the stock market lows in 2009, benchmarks show that companies specialising in renewable energy, energy efficiency, water and agribusiness produced better returns than their peers in the global economy.
Deutsche Bank analysts believe that this will be a growing trend as governments introduce policies, mandates and subsidies supporting the creation of a low-carbon economy.
In a report examining climate change as an asset class, the analysts said that investors should not be disheartened that the recent Copenhagen climate change conference failed to produce a multilateral legally binding agreement or global emissions reduction target.
Instead, investors should be encouraged by the involvement of key emerging markets, including China and India, at the summit and a flurry of evidence that governments are already acting on a national and local scale to mitigate the affects of climate change.
"Governments will be driven not just by the climate debate itself but by the realisation that the green economy produces investment and jobs - low carbon growth or prosperity - and can improve national competitiveness," the report said.
Meanwhile institutional investors from Europe, US and Australia with more than US$13 trillion under management have called on the White House and global policy makers to move quickly to adopt strong national climate policies to lay the foundation for private sector investment.
The investor statement was announced at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk, a meeting of 450 global investors at the United Nations, which took place earlier this week.
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