Climate change and resource constraints are two of the greatest environmental challenges the world has ever faced.

Climate change – characterised by increased global surface temperatures, shifting weather patterns and rising sea levels – is caused by record levels of greenhouses gases, including carbon dioxide, in the earth’s atmosphere driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels and intensive farming by humans. In order to limit the progression of global warming to below 1.5˚C, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to reach net zero by 2050. If action is not taken now, our planet will face unprecedented change.

The Earth’s natural resources have underpinned economic prosperity, health and well-being for centuries. Our natural capital is attributed to a plethora of goods and services; in fact, the annual value of ecosystem services that the world economy derives from natural capital is estimated to be greater than world Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, natural resources are being damaged and depleted faster than they can be replenished, undermining the ability of the global economy to generate adequate wealth to support social trends. Such unsustainable practices are, in part, due to population growth and a linear economic model where products are disposed of at the end of their life cycle, rather than being repurposed or recycled.

The Global Sustainable Equity Team discuss actions taken by governments and corporations to tackle the issues surrounding climate change and resource constraints as well as the investment philosophy which guides the team to invest for profit, people and planet alike.

Country overshoot days

Humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystem can regenerate. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

When would Earth Overshoot Day land if the world’s population lived like…

Source: Global Footprint Network National Footprint Accounts 2019, as at 31 December 2019. A country’s overshoot day is the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like the people in this country.