Combining gender and climate considerations expands the opportunity landscape for relevant, dynamic and impactful investments. On the 25th March 2021 we heard from leaders from the GenderSmart investor and practitioner community to hear why this powerful combination is gaining traction and to learn how you can start deploying capital with these combined lenses.
Key messages from the discussion
- Embrace opportunities now. In the aftermath of the recent GenderSmart Investing Summit it is clear that there is growing momentum in gender lens investing opportunities across asset classes as well as climate change finance. This is fueled by an expansive universe of investment products, rising expectations in the lead-up to COP26 as well as the structural and systemic inequities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic such as the lack of a functioning care economy, job insecurity, the need for local supply chains, and poor digital connectivity. We should therefore proactively identify and combine gender and climate opportunities to build back better.
- Take an intentional approach to applying gender and climate lenses. Gender finance and climate finance are often siloed, with separate analysis of gender and climate considerations. To bring them together we need to understand not only what is being invested in but the process behind how we are investing. An intentional approach allows us to target specific investment opportunities that are driven by explicit gender and climate solutions. This could be investment strategies that are pursuing climate smart solutions with a clear set of gender objectives from the outset, for example expressed in terms of women as leaders, as managers, as entrepreneurs, as consumers, as workers or more.
- Integrate gender and climate considerations into all investment decisions. An integrated approach identifies gender and climate factors as part of the analysis of an investment strategy although such factors do not represent the driving objectives of the strategy. The integrated approach is applicable to all investments; at a minimum from a risk perspective as a failure to consider climate and gender factors, but also in terms of an investor’s blind spots in making capital decisions.
- Be aware of what you might be missing by not paying attention to gender or climate impacts. By using gender and climate lenses we see new opportunities and we fulfil our responsibility as investors to consider all facets of governance, talent and whether goods and services are fit for purpose. New opportunities are presented via access to new markets, talent, resilient supply chains and more.
- Women are the key to unlocking climate solutions. When you have more women in governance around decision-making tables of capital allocators, you get better climate and business outcomes. Diverse and gender balanced teams are more resilient and have a better long-term and crisis performance. See more resources from GenderSmart on this here.
- We need better and more sophisticated data. Public markets want to understand climate and gender data and seek out responsive and user-friendly solutions. Five years ago, investors were looking for simple ‘plug in’ spreadsheet solutions to acquire basic ratings data. Now they are realising that the impact of that approach is limited and short-term. We need to be more sophisticated data to navigate the ecosystem of risk, opportunity, mitigation, adaptation and diversity to bring about the transition to a sustainable economy.
- Invest in first generation entrepreneurs. Give visibility to first generation and help them off the ground to de-risk their proposals for more mainstream investors and pave the way for scale. Early commitments and, in some cases, first loss capital, are key.
- Think about women as consumers of finance. Support clients to achieve their goals and grow the number of advisors and consultants who care about gender and are putting diverse decision makers and client representatives in the market.