The asset manager for a changing world
BNP PARIBAS ASSET MANAGEMENT - Climate Change 1440x300
  • Home
  • Taking clean air action so that the masks can stay off

Taking clean air action so that the masks can stay off

Responsible Investing

BNP Paribas Asset Management
 

Introduction

As we all know, smoking kills, but polluted air – often less visible than tobacco smoke – can be equally deadly. To mark World Environment Day 2019, the UN launched the ‘Mask Challenge’ to highlight the need to take action and tackle the causes of air pollution and its impact on people’s health and the environment and improve air quality, both in developed and emerging countries.

The scale of the air pollution problem

Nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air at home or outdoors, the World Health Organisation estimates, killing some seven million around the world every year. Particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system cause diseases including stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections.

WHO

Source: Air quality and health, WHO

More than 90% of air pollution-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Around three billion people – more than 40% of the world’s population – do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies.

Needed: a faster pace of improvements

While the rate of access to clean fuels and technologies is increasing, improvements are not keeping pace with population growth in many parts of the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa [1].

Efforts under the Paris Agreement to reverse the output of greenhouse gases (GHGs) include a push for clean combustion technologies and other policies to reduce health-damaging air pollutants.

Clean air also features in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: promoting sustainable transport, clean energy, waste management and urban planning can all improve air quality and health. SDG 3 focuses on good health and well-being for all; SDG 7 targets access to clean and affordable energy; SDG 11 focuses on sustainable cities and communities and SDG 13 tackles climate change.

Taking action

Reducing air pollution means tackling the five main human sources of poor air:

  • Alleviate indoor air pollution by providing households – the vast majority in developing countries – with cleaner, more modern stoves and fuels to cook, heat and light homes.
  • Incentivise industry to promote and use renewable energy sources and abandon coal-burning for power generation; adopt cleaner production, e.g. in the chemical and mining industries; move to energy efficiency and pollution control.
  • In transport, reduce vehicle emissions to improve air quality, especially in urban areas; use cleaner fuels and advanced vehicle emissions standards.
  • In agriculture, forestry and other land-use, reduce methane – a more potent GHG than carbon dioxide – by promoting plant-based, low meat and dairy diets and curbing food waste (and hence the reduced need for methane-producing farming).
  • Reduce the amount of waste that is burned or land-filled – practices which release harmful gases and particles – by improving the collection, separation and disposal of solid waste; use compost or bioenergy as an alternative source of energy.

At a personal level, people can help turn skies blue again, keep the lungs of the earth clean and limit the need to wear face masks by, for example, using public transport or sharing cars, cycling or walking, using hybrid or electric vehicles, and saving energy by turning off lights and electronics when not in use.

As a responsible company, BNP Paribas Asset Management wants to be a future maker, encouraging the companies and other issuers of securities that it invests in to act responsibly and sustainably. We believe this inherently contributes to generating long-term value for investors.

Being a responsible asset manager allows us to influence decision-making bodies as well as the policies of the companies we invest in on sustainability issues. This gives us an opportunity to take action for society as a whole with a view to creating sustainable, inclusive growth.


1 Source: WHO, https://www.who.int/airpollution/en/

This material is issued and has been prepared by a representative of BNP PARIBAS ASSET MANAGEMENT Australia Limited (“BNPP AMAU”) AFSL 223418 ABN 78 008 576 449.

This material is produced for information purposes only and does not constitute:

  1. an offer to buy nor a solicitation to sell, nor shall it form the basis of or be relied upon in connection with any contract or commitment whatsoever or
  2. investment advice.

Opinions included in this material constitute the judgement of BNPP AM at the time specified and may be subject to change without notice. BNPP AM is not obliged to update or alter the information or opinions contained within this material. Investors should consult their own legal and tax advisors in respect of legal, accounting, domicile and tax advice prior to investing in the financial instrument(s) in order to make an independent determination of the suitability and consequences of an investment therein, if permitted. Please note that different types of investments, if contained within this material, involve varying degrees of risk and there can be no assurance that any specific investment may either be suitable, appropriate or profitable for an investor’s investment portfolio.

Given the economic and market risks, there can be no assurance that the financial instrument(s) will achieve its/their investment objectives. Returns may be affected by, amongst other things, investment strategies or objectives of the financial instrument(s) and material market and economic conditions, including interest rates, market terms and general mmarket conditions. The different strategies applied to the financial instruments may have a significant effect on the results portrayed in this material.

All information referred to in the present document is available on www.bnpparibas-am.com

On the same subject: