The schemes collectively have around $250.59bn in assets under management and represent some of the largest companies in the UK
Twenty of some of the largest UK pension schemes have yet to establish net-zero targets, according to new analysis from Make My Money Matter (MMMM).
Analysis conducted by the ethical pensions campaign estimates that, based on market averages, around 24 million tonnes of carbon could be released into the atmosphere per year due to the substantial size of the schemes’ investments.
The schemes collectively have around £200bn ($250.59bn) in assets under management and represent some of the largest companies in the UK such as Boots, Ford, Shell, and Vodafone.
Several of these schemes that have yet to set net zero goals are sponsored by leading businesses that have outlined net zero targets. Boots and Vodafone have set goals to reach net zero by 2040, while Ford has set a target to reach net zero by 2050.
However, given that each of these companies have a scheme that is not aligned with their net-zero ambitions, MMMM has called on them to take immediate action, stating that a failure to do so runs the risk of undermining the collective efforts of the pensions industry’ to tackle climate change.
MMMM senior finance adviser Huw Davies said: We want to see all pension schemes set credible climate targets, in particular, the largest schemes which have yet to commit and which collectively account for a sizeable proportion of UK savers’ money.
Recent ambitious climate commitments from the pension schemes of Royal Mail, Co-op and Marks and Spencer show that this is possible. Other schemes need to follow, and corporate sponsors should back their schemes to act on climate. Failure to do so risks the very future our pensions are there to provide for, Davies said.
Co-founder Richard Curtis added: Leading businesses are urgently acting on sustainability, but it turns out that many are missing an enormous trick, their pensions. Now is the time for all businesses to integrate their pension into their sustainability plans at the same time as pension funds are being asked to acknowledge the urgency of the moment and themselves set robust net-zero strategies.
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