The pandemic has brought into sharp relief how our lives around the world are inextricably linked, both through the global spread of coronavirus and how we have come together within our communities to tackle and build back better from this crisis.
Putting in the hard work
But in order to meet our customers' desire for greener, sustainable and socially responsible investment products, we need the companies we invest in to deliver these things as well.
We know climate change could result in a significant loss of value in companies if risks are not effectively measured and managed.
That is why investment managers expect companies to disclose how climate change will impact on their strategy and capital allocation decisions in the future. And why we have asked all listed companies, for the first time this AGM season, to explain in their annual report what impact climate change will have on their business.
As we emerge from the pandemic, there is a huge opportunity to ensure the post-Covid-19 economic recovery contributes to the UK's ambitions to become a net-zero economy and meet the Paris Agreement targets.
This is an area that will continue to be front of mind for our industry as we seek to support companies, building on the billions invested since March.
Our industry is setting the course to meet savers' needs, and help businesses meet the challenges of climate change head-on. To ensure savers can navigate a potentially complex and confusing set of issues and options, we have developed a responsible investing framework to improve investor understanding.
But this is not just a story for investment management. We hope the UK will use its position as a global leader on sustainable finance to help drive forward change at home and in other countries, including through diplomatic channels during the UK's G7 Presidency in 2021 and in the run-up to the COP26 Summit that November.
Our industry will hope to draw attention to the UK's leadership in sustainable and responsible investment, and provide a blueprint for other nations looking to develop responsible investment practices in their own jurisdictions.
We've heard a lot of discussion about how we can take this moment of upheaval and change to reflect, and build back our economy and our society in a way that works better for all of us.
In this time of great uncertainty, canny savers stuck to their principles and backed responsible and sustainable investment funds as the best place to grow their savings.
This resolve tells me that there is no better opportunity than now to make lasting change that will both deliver for savers, and benefit society, the economy, and the planet. So let's seize it.
Chris Cummings is chief executive of the Investment Association