Aegon joins call for G20 to push green finance ‘asap’

Aegon has signed a letter to G20 governments calling them to not only make good on their commitment to tackle climate change, but to do so as soon as possible.

Aegon is one of 130 leading financial companies to sign the letter, dated August 24, calling for early execution of the commitment made by world leaders in Paris last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Signatories say the G20's backing of the Paris agreement provides a clear signal that the transition to the low-carbon, clean energy economy is inevitable and already under way.

However, it also points out that "Governments have a responsibility to work with the private sector to ensure that this transition happens fast enough to catalyze the significant investment required to achieve the Paris agreement's goals."

Aegon was one of the companies which called on the G20 to commit to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change last year. That commitment comes into force in 2020, but this latest letter calls on government leaders to act as soon as possible.

Acceleration toward clean energy

The influential financial companies behind the letter, which represent US$13 trillion in combined assets under management, confirm the need to accelerate investment in clean energy, and the forced disclosure of climate-related financial risk. The joint letter however seeks policy support to meet the goal of doubling global investment in clean energy by 2020, as called for by UN Secretary-General in January 2016.

Countries that ratify the Paris Agreement early, say the signatories, will benefit from increased policy certainty. The letter also asserts that such countries will "be better able to attract investment in low- and zero-carbon solutions, and will accelerate the implementation of this economically and socially critical agreement."

G20 Summit in September

The letter was released as government leaders prepare to attend the G20 Leaders Summit on September 4 and 5 in Hangzhou, China.

'Green finance' will be a major policy theme of the G20 summit for the first time, and its addition to the agenda could indicate an increased likelihood of subsequent policies in G20 member states.

Actions speak louder than words

In May this year Aegon announced that it has stopped all investments in coal mining, and has made its own commitment to 100% carbon neutrality.

Marc van Weede, Aegon's Executive Vice President of Group Strategy & Sustainability reinforced that, "stable policies are essential for Aegon to commit to long-term sustainable investments on behalf of its customers and that this had been an important factor in determining Aegon's renewable energy investments this year."

During 2016, existing investments in solar energy in the United States were joined by a 45 million euro investment in a German wind farm. And its first-ever fund for solar energy extended the opportunity for institutional investors to invest in green technologies.

In July this year Aegon's green credentials were put to the test, when they were selected for a 60 million euro investment in the world's first-ever green residential mortgage-backed security issue, called Green Storm. The proceeds of the bond will be used to finance prime mortgages for new and refurbished homes that meet the highest standards for energy efficiency in the Netherlands.