MUFG Global Markets Podcast

ESG mid-year outlook

As ESG’s contours and penetration increased in H1 2024, so too have the decibels of debate. Inadequate corporate returns in scaling green business owing to higher-for-longer rates, the EU parliament’s “shift to the right” portending a green agenda slowdown, as well as elevated geopolitical de-risking (hedging), have called into question the value of ESG considerations.

In this week’s podcast, Ehsan Khoman, Head of Research – Commodities, ESG and Emerging Markets (EMEA), contextualises why he believes the louder deliberations and pockets of pushback as still indicative of ESG’s burgeoning relevance and a natural (and necessary) step in its maturation. Looking ahead, he views biodiversity, regulation and artificial intelligence’s role in catalysing power demand will be key areas of focus in H2 2024. In addition, the ongoing challenges to accelerate decarbonisation signals that climate will remain the anchored priority, which may present new investment opportunities for investors and companies. In this vein, climate finance is set to be the defining issue at COP29 in November 2024, with any failure to reach consensus on the new collective quantified goal (NCQG) limiting the conferences ability to serve as an effective bridge between the successes of COP28 in the UAE and the lead-up to COP30 in Brazil.

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