This Friday (23rd July 2021) marks one hundred days until COP26. One hundred days until the ‘last best chance’ of avoiding the very worst climate change scenarios. But with unprecedented flooding across Western Europe and China, North America and Siberia on fire, a record high temperature in Antarctica and the Amazon rainforest now emitting more carbon dioxide than it absorbs, one hundred days seems a long way off. 

The transition to Net Zero is not breaking records at the same pace as extreme weather events, at least beyond what seems to be a record number of commitments. It is enough to lose hope. But, as Professor Tim Jackson reminded us at last week’s Radical Old Idea, who are we to think that hope would ever abandon us? He also spoke of the antidote to despair – action.  Over the next 100 days, we at GEFI are turning to our Path to COP26 campaign and its signatories for hope and action. Day to day, we see the inspiring work that many of them are doing, some backed by billions, others by nothing but their own will to face up to the greatest challenges of our time.  

We look to our partners for ‘Finance for Nature’: Global CanopyNature4Climate, the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital and the UNDP. They will join us during the first week of COP26 to, among other things, mobilise finance to meet the goals of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The finance sector is seriously lagging when it comes to biodiversity. As Global Canopy founder Andrew Mitchell puts it, the ‘E’ in ESG is really a ‘C’ for climate, a slight (!) oversight due to nature’s fundamental role in our survival, not to mention the part it will play in the battle against climate change.  Global Canopy will lead conversations at our COP26 venue on the newly formed Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and deforestation metrics. Nature4Climate will showcase Nature Tech and bring together stakeholders to discuss deforestation free finance. The Scottish Forum on Natural Capital will use the opportunity to present potential investible initiatives that will start bridging financing gaps.  

We see the work being carried out in the developing world by our ‘Faith in the SDGs’ partners. The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), UKIFC and UNDP Indonesia will showcase action at COP26 through the innovative use of Green Sukuk (Islamic Finance Green Bond). We witness first-hand the relentless efforts of IsDB’s Dr Sindi Hayat to empower innovators and scientists to solve development challenges through the Transform Fund. There is the work being done by the State Bank of Pakistan, who represent a financial system that is one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, to galvanise the finance sector in Pakistan to meet not just the challenges posed by environmental crises, but also by poverty and by malnourishment. Then there is FaithInvestspearheading a global multi-faith environmental initiative through its Faith Plans programme.  

Hope comes from our work with Royal London on ‘Adam Smith at the COP’, where we are bringing together leading economists from across the world to rewrite Smith’s The Wealth of Nations in the context of today’s market. The authors will explore some of the macro systemic questions around our economic system and its relationship with the natural environment. During COP26, we will present these reflections, and through a lecture series, re-examine Smith’s legacy.   

Action heals despair in our work on ‘Net Zero Pensions’. Alongside our partners Aberdeen Standard Investments, we look to launch at COP26 a roadmap for pension providers to achieve Net Zero, helping them to make commitments that are not just soundbites, but are realistic and with clear milestones and targets.  

More widely, we see the work being carried out by our signatories across the board, not necessarily as part of our own workstreams. For example the Chartered Banker Institute, as they revolutionise education for bankers so that sustainable, ethical decisions are the standard rather than the exception; Sterling Bank, as they put HEART into the Nigerian banking sector; and Global Impact Initiative, who are not just mitigating against the devastating impacts of climate change in Australia, but also addressing social challenges the country faces.  

All over the world, people and organisations are not just maintaining hope, but creating it. More than 60 of them have signed up to our Path to COP26 campaign. If you see something here that gives you hope, or some action that you want to be a part of as we make the final push for a successful COP26, reach out to us. 

If you would like to get in touch, email