14 pension scheme chairs sign A4S climate statement

The chairs of 14 pension schemes with assets of £267.9bn have committed to set net-zero targets to align their investment portfolios with a 1.5°C pathway.

The schemes have been committed to the pathway by their chairs’ signing of The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Pension Fund Chair Net Zero Statement of Support, which includes commitments to set net zero targets, be an active investor, and collaborate to use influence on behalf of members.

The new signatories include the chairs of the HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Limited, Barclays UK Retirement Fund, Unilever UK Pension Fund, Tesco PLC Pension Scheme, and Pennon Group Pension Scheme, which A4S said are all committing to the net zero cause for the first time.

Further signatories include chairs of the British Telecom (BT) Pension Scheme, Brunel Pension Partnership, Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia, National Employment Savings Trust (Nest), South Yorkshire Pension Fund, Environment Agency Pension Fund, Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund, Atos UK 2019 Pensions Scheme, and the Scottish Widows Master Trust.

A4S was founded in 2004 by Prince Charles in an effort to improve the sustainability of the finance industry.

The statement of support states that the signatories recognise the scale of the transition needed and the challenges climate presents for governments, business and society, as well as recognising their ability to uphold their fiduciary duty in providing long-term, risk-adjusted returns to their members is threatened by the impact of climate change.

Its principles include an expectation that the signatories’ service providers will also support them in their ambition to align with a 1.5°C pathway.

A4S executive chair, Jessica Fries, commented: “Pension schemes are highly exposed to the risks of an unsustainable future, but also powerfully positioned to influence a sustainable outcome.

“The pension fund chairs who are signing our Net Zero Statement of Support are committing to address the risks of climate change and invest in a resilient, sustainable future. A4S will be supporting this commitment through our practical guidance.”

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