Top asset owners make limited green commitments


Only a fraction of the world’s largest wealth holders have accredited net-zero commitments, according to a recent study by Willis Towers Watson, suggesting further headwinds for the growth of green finance.

According to the 2021 edition of The Asset Owner 2021, authored by the Thinking Ahead Institute, only 14 of the top 100 asset owners are accredited net-zero committed organizations.

Among the top 20 wealth owners, only three are accredited organizations.

“While the commitments from the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) organizations are critical, the largest wealth holders hold the ‘keys to the lock,'” said the co-founder of the Thinking Ahead Institute Roger Urvin.

“This relatively small group of investors is at the forefront of the investment community’s fight to become net zero, and their power is even more concentrated in the top 20, responsible for nearly $13 trillion.”

APAC dominance

Asia-Pacific accounted for 37 percent of the $23.5 trillion total — up 15.7 percent year-on-year — making it the largest region in the top 100.

The Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) of Japan claimed its throne as the world’s largest wealth owner with $1.7 trillion in assets under management.

“Over $8.3 trillion is concentrated in the top 20 asset owners in APAC, making it a tremendously impactful sum of capital to be leveraged for positive change,” he said Jayne Bok, Asia Investment Manager at Willis Towers Watson.

“Leading asset owners in APAC have the power to drive change in the investment industry and hold the keys and pathways to net zero. By thinking about and collaborating across the investment ecosystem* as a whole, this group can have an even bigger impact than their large wealth size suggests.”


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