New World Gold Council report highlights gold’s role in decarbonising investment portfolios

The World Gold Council today launched a new report “Gold and climate change: Decarbonising investment portfolios”, which looks at gold’s potential impact on the carbon profile of investment portfolios and their alignment with climate targets. This report aims to provide investors and stakeholders with a greater understanding of the implications regarding the transition to net zero carbon for gold in the context of a global multi-asset portfolio.

The World Gold Council collaborated with specialist climate risk consultancy Urgentem Research who provided the majority of primary analysis. 

This report builds on the World Gold Council’s earlier works of 2018 (Gold and Climate Change: An Introduction), 2019 (Gold and Climate Change: Current and Future Impacts) and 2020 (Gold and Climate Change: The Energy Transition).

This analysis adopts a very conservative scenario by assuming that the gold in these portfolios will largely be sourced from newly mined supply and that investors in bullion and bullion-backed products therefore ‘inherit’ the embedded carbon footprint associated with new gold production. In practice, gold would be sourced from the plentiful above-ground stocks, so our findings very likely overstate the embedded emissions associated with gold holdings in a portfolio.

Key findings of the report:

  • Including gold as a portfolio asset can have a positive impact on portfolio performance from a climate transition perspective
  • The benefits of holding gold in a globally diversified portfolio (of equities and corporate bonds) include:
    • Reducing the portfolio’s overall carbon footprint without sacrificing returns
    • Increasing portfolio alignment to climate targets and decarbonisation (Net Zero) pathways
    • Increasing the allocation to gold lowers the implied temperature increase of a portfolio
    • Reducing the vulnerability of the portfolio to climate transition risks and shocks, such as the introduction of a carbon tax
  • The positive portfolio climate effects were achieved without adversely affecting the risk-return profile of the portfolio. In fact, there were strong indications that an allocation to gold would improve the performance and risk profile of the portfolio, in addition to its climate transition benefits.

John Mulligan, Director, Climate Change Lead says: “Our new research clearly highlights the significant role that gold can have in making a positive impact on portfolio performance from a climate transition perspective.

Gold typically outperforms when markets are stressed, and climate-related risks are going to challenge all markets more often and more severely. Gold’s diversification potential is going to be increasingly relevant, and this research reinforces its strategic benefits as a risk mitigation asset. But investors also need to be confident that their holdings can contribute to the decarbonisation of the global economy and that their portfolios are increasingly aligned to Net Zero pathways. Our analysis strongly suggests that gold can help support this transition.”

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For further information please contact:

Hannah Brandstaetter
World Gold Council
T +44 798 34 524 069
E [email protected]

Note to editors:

World Gold Council
The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. Our purpose is to stimulate and sustain demand for gold, provide industry leadership, and be the global authority on the gold market.

We develop gold-backed solutions, services and products, based on authoritative market insight and we work with a range of partners to put our ideas into action. As a result, we create structural shifts in demand for gold across key market sectors. We provide insights into the international gold markets, helping people to understand the wealth preservation qualities of gold and its role in meeting the social and environmental needs of society.

The membership of the World Gold Council includes the world’s leading and most forward thinking gold mining companies.

Sectors: Supply, Demand, Investment