Old Mutual pledges $8.3bn towards sustainable economies

Pedro Gonçalves
Old Mutual pledges $8.3bn towards sustainable economies

Old Mutual plans to invest $8.3bn towards sustainable economies, the South African insurance giant announced in Davos.

The annual meeting at the World Economic Forum kicked off  brings together 3,000 participants from around the world, and aims to give concrete meaning to "stakeholder capitalism", assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, and facilitate discussions on technology and trade governance.

"One of the main agenda items is around climate change and sustainable energy. In South Africa and in the African context Old Mutual is a big player in that value chain, so we have a voice that needs to be heard around that," interim CEO, Iain Williamson, told local news outlet MoneyWeb while in Davos.

In South Africa and in the African context Old Mutual is a big player in that value chain, so we have a voice that needs to be heard around that"

However, the South African goverment is lagging towards implementing rules that will support a green economy.

"It's more difficult without the regulatory umbrella providing support. So, for example, in the South African situation the regulation to allow independent power producers to sell energy back into the national power grid is not in place. In other countries around the world - the UK is a good example - that is in place, and that then incentivises people to play a bigger role in providing those kind of alternative solutions," Williamson said.

"So there is a certain amount that business can do on its own. But there is a lot more than can be done if the right frameworks are in place in the public-private partnership model," he added.

For the 2020 trip to Davos, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa opted to not attend the forum, leaving finance minister Tito Mboweni to lead the South African delegation in his stead.

According to a leaked list of attendees, published by Quartz, there are 50 South Africans who will be attending the meetings this week, down from 56 who attended last year.

 Iain Williamson also explained where Old Mutual wants to make a green push.

"I was at session earlier today talking about providing clean energy in the fragile environments. You can think of the many African economies that have such environments, and what he had there was role-players from various parts of the system that needs to be the solution. So, for example, where the United Nations bears arms with the United Nations, there we had financing companies, their non-profit organisations. And it's only by those different players in the system getting together to resolve any of the sticking points in implementation that we can solve the problem, because there are some systemic issues."


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