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Liam Price

Head of ESG, Haven Green Capital Partners

Liam focuses on Haven Green’s ESG principles and due diligence of underlying managers. He has previously worked in real estate surveying with placements at Morgan Stanley’s London and New York offices. He holds a BA in Economics and Politics from University College Dublin and a certificate in ESG Investing from the CFA UK.

Haven Green Capital Partners

Haven Green Capital is an investment advisory firm with the sole focus on managers with sustainability and impact at the fundamental core of its investment framework. The firm has 13 globally-experienced professionals and endeavours to minimise potential long-term risk stemming from ESG factors on behalf of its clients.


What we need now is one set of standardised
ESG rules

2050 climate change challenge: The 1.5 degree target is achievable

Liam hopes COP26 has helped set a new tone for the industry.

“I'd be more optimistic that we will be close to 1.5c though it would be tough to get there. It involves a lot of change. But the goal is to drive capital towards companies who are really trying to do good but might not yet have the capital to compete with more traditional companies, who wouldn't be as sustainable. So, if COP 26 can influence allocators of capital that could really make a difference.”

But there also has to be change in government policy that will help to make those companies competitive. “It's a collective effort - governments working with industries and companies, and on an individual level working to change employees’ lifestyles. From an investor point of view, we need a lot more information, and a lot more guidance, and it's really important for it to be transparent and easy to understand.”

 

Solution to climate change: the government has to prioritise renewables

“Well, a shift towards renewable infrastructure and renewable energy is probably where we need to go, and it will have a massive impact. We can't just stop the way we live. So, we need to find different ways of going about our lifestyles, ways that don't impact the environment as much as now. It's about the government trying to create a framework where progressive companies can be competitive.”

 

The financial system’s role: gold standard guidelines would speed up capital allocation.

Liam sees the investment sector as critical to driving capital towards sustainable projects and opportunities. “Because if you aren’t driving these products, they won't get funding and they won't be able to be competitive. The financial industry needs to be transparent about how they go about it, I think there needs to be a standardised set of disclosures and guidelines, because it seems like there's thousands of different acronyms that people sign up to. They claim to be green, they claim to be sustainable, when actually they are not really making a great impact. We need a gold standard.”

 

Emerging markets need help to catch up.

“A country in Africa, you can't just expect them to go completely to renewable energy when they can’t really afford to even develop traditional infrastructure. So, it's about finding the middle ground and trying to help them find their way across. But trying to do that in a sustainable way is the challenge now. Developed nations haven't got the sustainable agenda sorted themselves, but they do need to help these countries, because if they don't help, it will just create a bigger gap between developed and developing nations, and it will take a lot longer for them to catch up.”

 

We need to agree on how sustainable investments are defined.

As an industry newcomer at the sharp end of due diligence, Liam is in no doubt what the priority is. “I've been trying to create our ESG policies, our screening systems, and it’s tough to find the information. So, I think it needs to be a lot clearer. I think that's where regulations and guidelines like the SFDR and EU taxonomy are going to come into play. One standardised set of rules is going to be really important now, it’s going to have a major impact on how the investment industry is operating in Europe, and if other countries or government bodies follow, we could see a major change.

 

Stranded Assets: Is divestment the way to go?

Liam says it doesn’t make sense to walk away. “I feel if you can keep control, and actually have a say with these companies, you can help to guide their procedures and operations and try to push a sustainable agenda for them. If it's a mining company, for example, you don't want to divest and then someone else comes in and allows forced labour or any other human rights violations - someone could come in and do that. I think you can keep enough control and have enough of a say that you could really help to transition these assets. I think it is important not to lose that power, especially if you believe in the sustainable mission.”