South Africa: What Is Net Zero and Why Should South African Investors Care?


In July, Ninety One became the first South African investment manager to sign up to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, joining a group of 128 asset managers from around the world. Together, the signatories manage a combined $43 trillion (almost half of the entire asset management sector globally) and by signing have committed to supporting the goal of achieving net zero by the year 2050 or sooner.

Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas the world produces and the amount removed from the atmosphere and will be achieved when the amount produced is no more than the amount taken away.

South Africa, like every country, is vulnerable to climate change. Ninety One's decision to sign up was not lightly undertaken: indeed, our motivation to join the initiative was to help effect a transition towards net zero that would work for all of the world's 7.9 billion people. Therein lies both a challenge and opportunity.

While there is worldwide consensus to curb climate change, as articulated in the Paris Agreement, we want to use our voice not merely to support the achievement of net zero, but to do so in ways that take account of...

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