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Climate and women: a disproportionate impact

Climate and women: a disproportionate impact
Jasbir Nizar - Global Head of Business Development

Jasbir Nizar

Global Head of Business Development


Need to know

•    Climate change has a disproportionate impact on women and girls. Of those displaced by climate-related disasters and changes worldwide, 80% are women1.
•    There is an urgent need to recognise women’s untapped knowledge and skills. Bringing them fully into the economic system can help humanity mitigate and adapt to climate change and be an engine for growth. 
•    At Lombard Odier, we will begin a stewardship push for women to be more represented on boards and integrated into overall sustainability strategies, consistent with the Paris Agreement and Glasgow Climate Pact.


Women’s Day panel

In recognition of International Women’s Day, Lombard Odier Investment Managers hosted a panel discussion in London on 8 March focused on women and the climate crisis.

We opened the evening with our stirring video highlighting the dominant theme of the event − the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on women and girls. Women account for 80% of those displaced by climate-related disasters and changes worldwide.  

I served as moderator for the event, which featured a keynote address from Christopher Kaminker, head of Sustainable Investment Research & Strategy.

Guest panelists included Hannah Tucker, founder of Balance Point Ventures, a sustainability advisory business; Katherine Stodulka, director of the Blended Finance Taskforce at SYSTEMIQ; and Mandy Kirby, chief strategist and co-founder of City Hive, an independent think tank and advocacy group. 

The panelists emphasised that women have untapped knowledge and skills that could help advance climate solutions and promote overall economic prosperity.



Equality’s wide benefits

Chris opened the discussion by noting how Lombard Odier’s core investment conviction – the global transition to a CLICTM economy that is Circular, Lean, Inclusive and Clean – provides a framework for understanding risks and opportunities arising from sustainability challenges.

Drawing on input from women in the sustainability team and around Lombard Odier, he underscored that bringing women fully into the economic system can help humanity mitigate and adapt to climate change and be an engine for growth, boosting global annual GDP by as much USD 28 trillion by 2025.Gender-diverse companies tend to be larger, with better stock returns and lower volatility, he said.

He noted that Lombard Odier will begin a stewardship push for increased female representation on boards and their integration into sustainability strategies, consistent with the Paris Agreement and Glasgow Climate Pact.

“It’s a planetary imperative, and frankly an extraordinary investment opportunity,” he said.


Agriculture’s role

Speakers highlighted statistics that demonstrate how a fairer society benefits everyone − including data showing how giving women equal access to agricultural resources could increase production on farms by up to 30%.

At Balance Point, Hannah Tucker uses the food system as a focal point for discussing climate to help make the issue more tangible and relatable. Food is unique in being both a victim and a villain of the crisis: food is highly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, but agricultural practices contribute to up to a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Empowering women to implement climate-resilient agricultural practices and tapping their knowledge about biodiversity can have more impact than investing in the next plant-based meat company, an area already flush with capital, Hannah said.


Avoiding complacency

Katherine Stodulka, whose taskforce was set up to mobilise capital for climate action, stressed the need to localise the climate agenda and recognise its impact close to home.

She has seen the effects of environmental destruction in her native Australia, and noted the implications for primary care givers, for education and for women’s safety and well-being. The challenge is to integrate gender equality into mainstream investment and climate strategies, and to avoid marginalising the issue, Katherine said.

While there is a need to bring more women into established processes and systems, the perpetual cycle of inequality suggests we should examine whether the systems themselves need radical change, added Mandy Kirby. Her organisation partners with investment management firms to create a fairer and more equal society. 

I closed the evening by noting how effective change relies on people not becoming complacent: “We go with the flow because it’s the path of least resistance. For systems to change, everyone has to have the mindset of, `I’m not going to accept this.’”



1 United Nations


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