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Grapevine 
 
 
 
 

Doing all you can with what you've got
 
 
For the first time at COP, we weren’t debating the direction in which we’re moving; we were debating the speed. The lack of urgency shown at Glasgow will be seen as a lost opportunity, rife with greenwashing (we call it 'the saying-doing gap'). An absence of systems leadership held us back as nation state administrations prioritised over-optimistic, short-term fixes over long-term solutions.

COP26 was never the place to solve the climate crisis, but it has been a place to get better alignments in place. Thankfully, the triumph of planning and diplomacy at COP21 in Paris showed us that fostering systems leadership is possible, and coalitions within the asset management industry have deepened. Glasgow signalled the considerable progress in the finance community with capital an increasing force in tackling the climate emergency.
 
 
“The industry’s power lies with our ability to foster coalitions for change. Greater industry collaboration will unleash the real power of fiduciary capitalism.”
– Roger Urwin 
 
 
At our upcoming sustainability summit, Roger Urwin will outline the units of soft power needed to address climate change at speed and scale. Finance and truly sustainable organisations have the potential to punch above their weight. But to do so, they must combine forces with people, corporations and policy makers.

To find out how, join us at our December sustainability summit and read Roger's article. We’re thrilled to announce that the summit line-up will include:

  • Diana Fox Carney, Public Policy Expert, COP26 Moderator and board member of several not-for-profit organisations including ClientEarth
  • Kate Bromley, Head of Responsible Investment at QIC
  • Jeff Chee, Global Head of Portfolio Strategy at Willis Towers Watson
  • Zak May, Executive Director (Strategy and Policy) at IFM Investors
  • Lucy Thomas, Head of Investment Stewardship and Adrian Troller, Head of Portfolio Delivery at TCorp
 
 
 
 
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The world's 500 largest asset managers see assets hit record US$119.5 trillion
 
The investment industry is changing fast. Nearly half of the asset managers which featured in the top 500 ranking a decade ago are absent from our latest report.
 
 
 
Continuing record asset growth demonstrates asset managers' resilience in the face of heightened uncertainty, but now is not the time for complacency. The industry is transforming rapidly and leading asset managers will have to continue to rise to new challenges.

Read the full report >
 
 
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Heart knowledge | What's love got to do with it?
 
A key theme of the world’s largest pension funds study is the increased complexity boards face from meeting ESG mandates. In this forum post, Tim Hodgson reframes climate change not as a problem, but as a symptom of a human-built system. If we’ve built the system that’s caused the problems, it’s up to us to fix it. So how do we best fix a system so that it’s fit for human habitation? With head knowledge alone? Or do we need heart knowledge too?
 
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AO100 | The most influential capital on the planet
 
Assets under management of the top 100 asset owners totalled US$ 23.5 trillion at the end of 2020, growing 16.4% from the previous year. The pledges from GFANZ organisations are a critical signalling device, but the largest 100 asset owners represent the most influential capital on the planet. Their influence will be key to the investment community’s fight to become net zero.
 
 
 
Want to see more?  
 
If you'd like to read more on our recent research and events, previous copies of Grapevine can be found at the link below.
 
 
 
 
 
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We love it when others get involved with our mission. To find out how you can help or have a deeper impact on a particular topic just  get in touch.
 
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About the Thinking Ahead Institute
The Thinking Ahead Institute was established in January 2015 and is a global not-for-profit investment research and innovation member group made up of engaged institutional asset owners and service providers committed to mobilising capital for a sustainable future. It has over 50 members around the world and is an outgrowth of the Thinking Ahead Group which was set up in 2002. Learn more at thinkingaheadinstitute.org.

About Willis Towers Watson
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.
 
 
 
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