Annual ESG Report
Since we began reporting our environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities in 2016, the world has been getting warmer. That inaugural year had the highest average global temperatures on record and, unfortunately, it was not an outlier. The seven warmest years ever recorded have all occurred since 2015.
Global warming appears to be reaching a tipping point. The IPCC1, the world's leading authority on climate change, has warned that net carbon emissions must peak by 2025 and then reach net zero by the early 2050s if we want to limit global warming in accordance with the Paris Agreement.2
Throughout 2020, the unprecedented social impact of COVID-19 on businesses, families and communities worldwide meant the 'S' in ESG was, understandably, the immediate priority. COVID-19 has not disappeared of course, and we must stay vigilant to the threat posed by the disease and any new variants. However, the rollout of vaccine programmes has enabled many economies to start recovering from the pandemic, with international efforts towards climate change and the transition to a net-zero economy regaining much-needed momentum in 2021.
The COP26 global climate summit epitomised this resetting of the focus. Initially postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, diplomats from nearly 200 countries converged on Glasgow between October and November 2021 to discuss progress towards the Paris Agreement pledges. While the summit fell short of many of its stated ambitions, it emphasised that not enough is being done to prevent climate change and avert the very worst outcomes for our planet.
At Rothschild & Co, we continue to support efforts to prevent climate change and took a number of steps in 2021 to reaffirm our commitment. For example, we pledged to become net zero across our operations by 2030 in order to offset the impact of our carbon emissions within the next decade.
Contributing through our investments is also a key part of our broader strategy, and the ways in which we do that form the foundation of this report. We want to explain how our approach to sustainability has evolved, as well as the important climate initiatives we've joined and the key engagements we've had with the companies and managers we invest in.
 The IPCC: The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change
 The Paris 2015 Agreement (agreed by 196 countries in Paris in December 2015) is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It aims to strengthen the global response to climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2°C, and preferably 1.5°C, above preindustrial levels.