Aegon AE pension default funds to be net zero by 2050

Aegon UK has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions across its auto-enrolment (AE) default pension funds by 2050, as customer research reveals that 45 per cent of savers support calls for investing in a net zero carbon future to be made mandatory.

The survey, which was conducted amongst Aegon's customer panel, also found that 77 per cent agreed that climate change is an important risk to consider when investing for the future.

Aegon stressed that there is an “urgent need to take action” against climate change, confirming plans to explore the practicability of halving the emissions associated with default funds 2030 in light of this.

Commenting on the plans, Aegon investment solutions managing director, Tim Orton, stated: “As investment providers and a responsible business, we have a large part to play in the fight against climate change.

“We believe that this is not just an environmental issue, but one that is central to the future financial wellbeing of our customers.

“Investors are giving us a very clear message that they want to see action. Aegon and other providers have the power to influence the companies that they invest in and the third-party fund managers who provide investments.

“Businesses that fail to change, will fail.”

The commitment also follows the recent news that BlackRock will be taking an increased focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies in its UK defined contribution default strategy, LifePath, which is the principal default for the Aegon Master Trust.

Aegon highlighted these plans as "another positive step forward" for default investors, noting that more than half of total LifePath assets, around £3bn, are expected be invested in ESG strategies by mid-2021.

In addition to this, the group emphasised that the commitment to be carbon neutral is being addressed from a corporate perspective, as well as investment, with Aegon’s main operations having achieved carbon neutral status since 2016.

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