A group of institutional investors and investor networks have launched a project to create a new tool to enable investors to measure, monitor and compare how well governments are addressing climate change.
One of the networks participating in the launch of what is being called the ASCOR Project is the Transition Pathway Initiative, a joint venture launched in 2017. One of its members is social and environmental performance firm Chronos Sustainability Ltd.
Rory Sullivan, co-founder and CEO of Chronos Sustainability, said that the ASCOR Project grew out of the mission of the Transition Pathway Initiative, which provides benchmarks to measure how corporations are addressing climate change.
And while the new project has similar aims, developing a tool to measure climate-change governance and performance by sovereign states rather than corporations presents different and unique challenges.
"Sovereigns are harder to engage with," Mr. Sullivan said. "They're more complex than corporates. (For example,) poor countries with poor governance and poor infrastructure come out badly (in scoring) because they're dependent on fossil fuels."
He said countries in that kind of position shouldn't be punished because they're poor, and one of the chief challenges of developing the tool is being able to integrate country-specific challenges into assessing their approaches to climate change.
Mr. Sullivan said the goal is to have a tool developed and piloted by the end of 2021, and it will be used to create an annual assessment of countries' climate change governance and performance.
"The idea with it is that it gives investors information that they can talk to governments about," Mr. Sullivan said. "It defines the policy infrastructure within a country so investors can raise issues."
Other project team members include the £57 billion ($80.3 billion) BT Pension Scheme, London, and the £2.8 billion Church of England Pensions Board, London.