ESG Essentials: AMR statement and Gen Z anxiety

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Investors call on global leaders to stop superbugs before they break the bank

The Investor Action on Antimicrobial Resistance (IAAMR) initiative has released a new statement urging global leaders to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) ahead of the UN General Assembly’s high-level meeting in September. 

The statement outlines seven key requests, including science-based targets, effective drug stewardship, integrated drug usage surveillance, funding for R&D, and ensuring equitable global access to treatments. 

The IAAMR emphasises that AMR, driven by the misuse of antimicrobial drugs, poses systemic risks comparable to biodiversity loss and climate change. Despite progress from the UNGA’s 2016 meeting, efforts have stalled, raising concerns about the economic impact, which could reach US$100 trillion and reduce global GDP by 3.8% by 2050. In addition to the financial impacts associated with AMR, it is also a major threat to global public health, claiming 1.27 million lives in 2019 and projected to increase to 10 million annually by 2050. 

The investor community should be increasingly worried about how AMR will affect financial markets, economic stability, and long-term value generation. The statement is open for investor sign-on until 22 July. 

What do Gen Z and Millennials really care about?

Source: The Deloitte 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey

The Deloitte 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey has highlighted increasing climate anxiety among these generations, with many aligning their careers and consumer behaviours to reflect their environmental values. The survey runs yearly, gathering responses from nearly 23,000 respondents across 44 countries.

Nearly six in 10 Gen Zs and millennials report feeling anxious about climate change, leading around half to pressure employers to take climate action. A significant portion have even changed jobs or plan to do so in response to environmental concerns.

Optimism about future finances is emerging despite continual financial insecurity, yet climate change remains a dominant concern. Roughly two-thirds of Gen Zs and millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products, and many are taking personal actions like reducing air travel and adopting plant-based diets. Businesses are seen as having the greatest potential to drive environmental change, prompting these generations to push for corporate climate initiatives.

The survey reveals a strong desire for employers to support environmental efforts and mental well-being. While progress is being made, ongoing climate concerns and economic pressures highlight the need for businesses to address these issues for the sake of their people.

Economic damage caused by climate change six times worse than predicted, new report 

Climate change causes six times more economic damage than previously thought, with global warming set to shrink wealth at a rate consistent with the financial drain of a continuing permanent war.

According to new research, a 1C increase in global temperatures leads to a 12% decline in global GDP, a higher estimate than previously thought. Scientists predict a 3C temperature rise by the end of this century due to the ongoing burning of fossil fuels. 

Even with steep emissions cuts, climate change will bear a heavy economic cost, with GDP losses still around 15%. The research highlights that purchasing power would be 37% higher than it is now without global heating seen over the past 50 years. Furthermore, people may be 50% poorer at the end of the century than they would have been if it wasn’t for climate change.

The research takes a more holistic approach to the impact of climate change, analysing the cost on a global scale rather than on individual countries. In turn, it captures the interconnectedness of heatwaves, storms, floods and other worsening climate impacts that damage crop yields and reduce worker productivity and capital investment.

Risks to the long-term effectiveness of new biodiversity net gain scheme, NAO warns 

The new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has criticised Defra’s new biodiversity net gain (BHG) scheme, which seeks to ensure developers in England work to protect and improve biodiversity on development land. 

The scheme, launched in February, requires developers to have a measurably positive impact on biodiversity, improving habitats by a net 10%. Ideally, developers would meet these goals on-site, but they can create off-site gains or purchase them through a new private market for biodiversity units if not feasible.

The NAO warned Defra must address several risks, including the absence of central monitoring for local authorities’ enforcement of biodiversity gains and the lack of relevant information to assess the scheme’s success. Additionally, the NAO noted that Defra relies too heavily on the private sector market for biodiversity units.

The NAO recommended that the government establish a mechanism for spending income from the sales of biodiversity credits to provide local authorities with adequate funding for long-term biodiversity planning. 

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