Environment

COP26 – women excluded in fight against climate change

Woman standing in mountain top

Tomorrow at COP26 the Women in Finance Climate Action Group will share the conclusions of its report, on gender inequality in private climate finance. The report has been developed by the Women in Climate Action Group and has also drawn on research conducted by CARE International UK1. The Group argues that whilst climate change impacts women across the world significantly, women remain seriously under-represented in climate policy, climate decision-making and climate finance. The Group calls for urgent action to improve gender equality when designing, delivering and accessing private climate finance such as addressing the disparity of senior female representation on climate issues and improving financial inclusion for women. 

The Women in Climate Action Group is chaired by Amanda Blanc, Group Chief Executive of Aviva, who is also HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter Champion appointed to spearhead efforts to boost gender diversity across the UK financial services sector. 

Amanda Blanc said:

“We can’t solve the climate crisis without involving women. And we won’t create equality for women unless we address the climate crisis. With so much at stake, it is negligent beyond belief to ignore the impact on half the world’s population and the contribution women can make. That is why I’ve convened a group of female leaders in finance to consider what more can be done to improve gender equality when designing, delivering and accessing climate finance.”

Women in Finance Climate Action Group Report

Members of the Group will meet on 3rd November at COP26, where they will present a set of recommendations for how business and society can better incorporate gender into climate action. The report identifies specific actions to help deliver better outcomes on gender and climate, including:

  1. Improving gender-balanced representation in key-decision making roles on climate finance (for example, women only make up 19% of both the IMF and World Bank Boards2.) All organisations providing climate finance should introduce specific measures to improve their gender-balance, for example those suggested in the UK’s Women in Finance charter3. Governments should deliver and extend commitments to support women’s equal participation and leadership in the UN climate negotiations; and civil society organisations should hold businesses and government to account on these measures.
  2. Targeting measures to include women more fully within the financial system and improve their access to financial services. For example, private providers of climate finance should consider how accessible their products are to women and whether any innovation is necessary to reach women and other underserved groups.
  3.  Integrating gender into public and private climate policy planning and frameworks, for example all Governments should incorporate gender equity in their plans (including finance elements) to meet their national climate targets and ensure consistency between these and other key international commitments. 
  4. Developing and implementing a consistent global framework of gender metrics and data to incorporate into climate finance reporting. For example, existing industry sustainability and climate reporting initiatives, such as the Global Reporting Initiative and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, to collaborate to develop gender metrics and establish a set of joint guidance for use by public and private sector actors making climate-related investments.

The Group brings together senior women leaders from across finance, the public sector and civil society to form this group.  Its members are:

  • Amanda Blanc, Group Chief Executive Officer, Aviva plc
  • Sarah Breeden, Executive Director, Bank of England
  • Bridget Burns, Director, WEDO
  • Christiana Figueres, Founding Partner, Global Optimism; Former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
  • Irina Ghaplanyan, Senior Advisor, World Bank Group
  • Rupal Kantaria, Partner, Oliver Wyman
  • Mindy S. Lubber, President & CEO, Ceres; Director, Investor Network on Climate Risk; CDSB Board Member
  • Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest
  • Michelle Scrimgeour, CEO, LGIM
  • Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF UK
  • Sue Szabo, Director General for Innovative and Climate Finance, Canadian Government
  • Rhian-Mari Thomas, CEO Green Finance Institute
"Women’s voices need to be heard at every level in order to make a difference."

Christiana Figueres, Founding Partner, Global Optimism; Former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, said:

“I have seen first hand the way in which women and girls are being hit by the impacts of climate change – and also the amazing innovation that comes from empowering women to act. Sadly I have also seen the way in which women are all too frequently excluded from the discussion on climate action and finance. Women’s voices need to be heard at every level in order to make a difference. We need to see concrete ways forward to make this happen, from both policymakers and businesses. I hope this report helps to generate the action required.”

Michelle Scrimgeour, Chief Executive Officer, Legal & General Investment Management and co-chair of the UK Government’s COP26 Business Leaders Group, said:

"Climate change must be a fight that unites us all and inaction is not an option."

 “As a signatory to the Women in Finance Climate Action Group, we welcome this report, which tackles the connected issues of gender inequality and private climate finance. Climate change must be a fight that unites us all and inaction is not an option. We have long advocated for convergence of standards and we are actively engaging with stakeholders/companies globally to address all forms of diversity. There is undoubtedly more to do; we need to build on the progress that has been made to drive the change we believe in.”

Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF UK, said:

"Women are not just victims; given the opportunity they are powerful agents of change."

“Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge humankind has ever faced, and the impact will be most severe for the world’s poorest and most marginalised, including women. However, women are not just victims; given the opportunity they are powerful agents of change. Their leadership is critical as we look to address the huge task ahead of us to stop the destruction of nature and help it recover – and there are already many examples of women around the world who are helping to deliver initiatives that bring about transformational improvements for people and for our planet.”

Sources

1 CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) International is a global aid organisation, operating in 104 countries around the world, supporting over a thousand community-based development and humanitarian aid projects.

2 IMF: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/Policy-Papers/Issues/2019/10/23/Gender-Diversity-In-The-Executive-Board
-Progress-Report-Of-The-Executive-Board-To-The-Board-48745; World Bank: COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND SECRETARIAT (worldbank.org)

3 UK Government: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/519620/
women_in_finance_charter.pdf

-ENDS-

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