Are you a young person with questions about COP26? Join our #26for26 campaign

With COP 26 now less than 50 days away, we are eager to encourage voices from all around the world, and in particular, young voices, to get involved with the conversation in and around finance that will be taking place in Glasgow and beyond.

The Climate crisis facing us today is immense, and the negotiations that will take place at COP will hopefully bring us closer to a solution and a combined international effort. But what is the thing you have been dying to ask the delegates? Who would you like to ask this question? No guarantees we will get you that person, but with the finance industry gathering in Glasgow in November, we will have a broad range of industry leaders we can speak with.  

As part of our #26for26 campaign, we will pick 26 questions to ask our network throughout the two weeks of COP26. You may of course submit anonymously, however, if you provide us with contact details and social media handles, we will link any posts to you, so you can share with your network, should you be chosen.  

You can submit your questions via our Questions for COP chat box on our website.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Linkedln and YouTube to be part of the conversation across social media.


Youth Voices at COP26: GEFI parners with Global Youth Climate Action Fund

At the end of October 2021, member states and observer organizations will gather in Glasgow for the 26th Conference of Parties. Top of the agenda will be finding ways to mobilize US$ 100 billion every year in climate finance. This ambitious target requires the involvement of all stakeholders both in the public and private sector, to play their part towards resource mobilization.

The Global Youth Climate Action Fund, an initiative of BLI Global and Drop Access, has set an ambitious target to raise and invest US$100,000,000 into youth-led climate action projects by 2030. As part of the readiness program of the fund, a capacity building session is planned to take place between August and October 2021. The session picks up as season II of the climate finance and carbon pricing webinar series that took place last year. The virtual sessions are scheduled to stream through zoom and will include practitioners in the field of climate finance and carbon pricing, organizations that are already leading the way towards ambition, and young people who are already finding climate solutions through innovation.

With support from the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) and Citizen’s Climate International, the GYCAF is stepping up momentum in the race to COP26 in Glasgow. Our sessions will begin with a global outlook on climate finance and carbon pricing in relation to COP26 and today’s economy. Regional breakout sessions will follow suit to provide context from stakeholders on the ground. Providing a platform for young people and key stakeholders to explain and discuss their positions and priorities will promote inclusive thought sharing and a shared appreciation of the true needs of communities at a grassroot-level.

Some key sessions we would like to highlight are:

  1. Supporting youth in implementation of the NDCs. This first session is focused on mostly developing countries most of which have been urged to update their NDCs before COP 26. This hopes to Foster meaning engagement between youth and their government.
  2. Financing Youth towards a net zero world. The second session is focused on developed nations with high emissions, ensuring they take responsibility for their actions.
  3. Lesson learnt from climate finance modules. The third session is focused on best practices learnt and what young people can borrow going into the future,  as well as what not to do and what to do when it comes to climate finance.

We invite you to sign up for the event on eventbrite or zoom registration and to share the event within your networks.

Together we can achieve the ambitious targets spelled out in the Paris Agreement, forging a path that leads us towards COP26 and beyond.

Lady Maria Horne, BLI Global and Dolphine Magero, Global Youth Climate Action Fund

This Youth Day, don’t forget about your pension. It might just save the world.

The UN’s International Youth Day may be over for this year, but the hopes and fears of 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 to 24 — the largest generation of youth in history- are very much still here. As a generation, we are ready to change the world for the better. Yet, with mounting fears about climate change and the mental toll of the coronavirus pandemic disproportionately impacting young people, it can be hard to plan ahead ,or  even have the mental space to envisage what that change might look like. This pattern is reflected in young people’s financial habits. A recent survey for reported that 24% of under 35s said they had no pension savings at all. But what if our pensions were a key to help deliver the change our generation so desperately wants to see?

With less than 100 days until COP26, asset owners across the globe are coming under increasing pressure to commit to Net Zero. Whilst a number of financial institutions have taken a leap of faith and made Net Zero commitments, others are less comfortable to do so. This is a problem GEFI's Net Zero Pension workstream hopes to address as part of our broader Path to COP campaign, over the next 100 days and beyond.

The race to Net Zero pensions is one young people need to be paying close attention to. Greening your pension is 21x more effective at reducing your carbon footprint than the impact of giving up flying, going veggie and switching energy provider combined. Whilst looking ahead to our pension savings might not always feel like the most obvious step to make at the start of your career, it is one of the strongest suits we have to offset environmental damage and to in  safeguard a genuinely sustainable future.

Approximately £2.6 trillion are invested in UK pensions every year. As we learned across Day 2 of Ethical Finance 2021, much of this is invested in tobacco, arms, deforestation, fossil fuels and gambling. Yet, many people are completely unaware that this where their pension funds are invested, and are ignorant of the damage this is doing to the planet. Each year, the average UK pension member, unknowingly finances 23 tonnes of CO2 emissions through the businesses in which their pension invests. This is the equivalent of running nine family cars each year, or burning 1,100 coal fires annually.

Climate change and the environment is a key concern for the youth of today, with a survey  from Research Gate finding that 48.5% of climate protesters were under 35.  According to Raconteur, 62% of under-35s said they would engage more with their pension if they knew it was making a positive impact on climate change. Making the decision to invest in an ethical or Net Zero pension fund therefore presents a win-win opportunity where young people can save for their future, whilst simultaneously helping to save the planet.

At the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, we believe that financial sector must do more to engage with young people. Our Youth Voices at COP stream aims to facilitate this opportunity in the countdown to COP26 in Glasgow, opening up avenues for dialogue for young people who feel pushed out of conversations around the world’s biggest climate summit.  By turning our attention to Net Zero Pensions this Youth Day, we want to tackle the age old challenge of youth and pensions head on. Chartering a route away from irreversible environmental impact might seem like an overwhelming task but we are determined to get there, one (Net Zero) pension plan at a time.

Katie McKenzie