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Helping clients take personal action on the environment

Helping clients take personal action on the environment

Rewilding nature from his organic farm in Cornwall, retired fund manager and charity founder Yan Swiderski has carved out a thriving corner of Eden for himself and his family.

Yet Mr Swiderski, who has been married to environmentalist Camilla Swiderska for more than 30 years, is acutely aware that this slice of Eden, together with the rest of our planet and our savings and investments, are drastically under threat from climate change and wider environmental degeneration.

Wondering what could be done to make a difference in terms of a positive, practical solution to the problem of environmental devastation, and realising that the finance sector could play a key part, Mr Swiderski and good friend Jasper Judd founded the Climate Crisis Foundation two years ago.

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Last year, the CCF launched the Global Returns Project – an initiative that will mobilise financial advisers, and others managing wealth and investments in the finance sector, to position themselves as a key part of the answer to climate change.

Mr Swiderski explains: “Climate and ecological crises are major threats – not only to the environment and human welfare, but also to investments and for businesses.”

He says that “driven by corporate responsibility, client demand and competitive pressure, the investment community is adapting – introducing [environmental, social and governance] and impact funds, setting new environmental standards for the industry, and also by lobbying governments. But the scientists are telling us we all need to act faster”.

So the CCF started to think about the solutions.

“The good news is that many of the most effective climate solutions are already available,” Mr Swiderski says. “There are hundreds of amazing not-for-profit organisations working on the climate crisis in areas like conservation, reforestation, renewables and advocacy.”

Nature-based solutions alone, if they were properly funded, could be sequestering 11bn tonnes of CO2 every year – that is more than 20 per cent of human emissions.

Seeing that private investors globally own financial assets worth around $140tn (£101tn), the CCF realised that if only three in 100 savers decided to allocate as little as 0.25 per cent of their portfolios to not-for-profits, that would raise $10bn every year for the climate.

‘Reinvesting in earth’

Armed with this knowledge, the CCF thoroughly researched more than 130 climate not-for-profit organisations and selected some of the most effective and most scalable.

CCF chose six of the best, through rigorous assessment, and now clients can donate to these not-for-profits through the Global Returns Project. The chosen charities are currently Ashden, Client Earth, Global Canopy, Rainforest Trust, Trillion Trees and Whale and Dolphin Conservation. This is what CCF calls “reinvesting in earth”. 

Mr Swiderski says: “We believe there is an opportunity for wealth managers, advisers, banks and other financial institutions to take significant action by enabling their clients to support these not-for-profit climate solutions in an easy way.”