South Yorkshire Pensions Authority sets sights on carbon neutrality by 2030

South Yorkshire Pensions Authority (SYPA) has targeted achieving carbon neutral status for its investment portfolios by 2030.

Members of the SYPA have asked the authority’s officers to report back to them within 6 months with an action plan on how this will be achieved, after setting the goal at a meeting on 30 September.

The meeting was an annual review of the authority’s policies in relation to responsible investment issues and its climate change policy.

SYPA chair, Councillor Mick Stowe, said: “We have acknowledged for some time that climate change is the biggest risk facing the value of our scheme members’ pension savings, this is the next step along the road to effectively managing that risk.

“We cannot do this on our own and we will be looking to bring our colleagues within the Border to Coast Pensions Partnership on this journey with us.”

SYPA members have also agreed to commission a comprehensive impact reporting framework to build an overview of the emissions level of each of the fund’s investments, as well as other impacts related to its sustainable development goals.

This work will be commissioned later this financial year with a view to producing the first comprehensive report on the position at the end of the 2020/21 financial year.

Stowe commented: “Pension funds rightly get criticised for the level of emissions and other impacts from their listed equity investments. However, these only represent around half the story and alongside setting a net zero goal we need to be able to tell the full story.

“This work will enable us to provide a more balanced picture which properly reflects both the positive steps we are already taking such as significant investment in renewable energy and our more traditional investments in listed companies.”

The news comes the day after Aviva called on the government to require all auto-enrolment default pension funds to achieve net-zero carbon emissions status by 2050.

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