UK pension asset owners join Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

Three UK pension asset owners have signed up to the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.

As reported by our sister publication, European Pensions, Phoenix Group, Legal & General (L&G) and Rothesay all joined alongside Germany’s largest pension fund under public law, Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK), and Asia- and Africa-focused insurance group, Prudential plc.

The five new signatories have added a combined USD 900bn AUM to the alliance, meaning it now consists of 42 assets owners managing a combined USD 6.6trn of assets.

By joining the alliance, members commit to transitioning investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and considering the “best available scientific knowledge”.

Members also commit to create and report on intermediate targets every five years, and support the alliance’s contributions to the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and the Race to Zero campaigns, convened by UN special envoy on climate action and finance, Mark Carney.

Commenting on the new arrivals, Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance chair, Guenther Thallinger, said: “We welcome the significant commitment this cohort of new asset owner members are making and the example they are setting.

“We hope they will encourage other investors to act urgently to align their investment portfolios with a 1.5°C scenario and to play their role in meeting the Paris Agreement.”

Phoenix Group CEO, Andy Briggs, said the firm was “delighted” to become a signatory.

“As the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business we understand the role that our business needs to play in creating a sustainable and green future, which is why we were among the first large UK insurers to make a clear commitment to help tackle climate change in line with science-based targets, pledging to be net-zero carbon by 2025 in our operations and by 2050 for our investment portfolio,” he added.

L&G CEO, Nigel Wilson, added: “Joining the Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance is important to L&G.

“We are committed to net zero by 2050 and to key quantifiable reductions to our carbon footprint along the way.

“The financial sector needs to move from pledges to actions, and the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance will play an important role in that process.”

Rothesay CEO, Addy Loudiadis, commented: “It is vital that the insurance industry works together to deliver a clear pathway to net zero and that we champion the regular reporting needed to keep our efforts on track.

“We are pleased to join the Net Zero Alliance and support its work which we see as a fundamental part of our commitment to providing our policyholders with security for the future.”

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