Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance adds 5 new members managing $900 billion

27 May 2021

The UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance announced the addition of five new members managing nearly one trillion US dollars of assets between them.

UK-based joiners include the country’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, Phoenix Group, the country’s largest life insurer, L&G Group, and Rothesay, the UK’s largest pensions insurance specialist.

Germany’s largest pension group under public law Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK) and Asia and Africa-focused insurance group Prudential plc also join today, expanding Alliance membership to 42 asset owners managing a combined US$6.6 trillion of assets.

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, considering the best available scientific knowledge, including the findings of the IPCC. Members will establish and report on intermediate targets every five years.

By joining, the new members 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.

Alliance Chair and member of the board of Allianz Guenther Thallinger says: “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 says: “We are delighted to have become a signatory to the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. In becoming a member, we have joined a global group of asset owners who are committed to setting and reporting regularly on targets to ensure we achieve UN aligned net-zero emissions.

“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. Whilst Phoenix is the largest UK asset owner making this commitment today, we are pleased to be doing this alongside four other financial organisations today and we stand ready to collaborate across our industry to achieve our net-zero goals.”

Nigel Wilson, CEO at L&G CEO, says: “Joining the Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance is important to Legal & General. 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 NZAOA will play an important role in that process.”

Addy Loudiadis, CEO at Rothesay says: “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.”

André Heimrich, CIO at Bayerische Versorgungskammer – the first pension group to join from Germany – says: “Given the urgency with which climate change is to be tackled, asset owners such as ourselves want to use their investment strategies on a worldwide scale to help limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 °C in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement. For us, sustainability has long been a key focus, and we will render our contribution to achieving a climate-neutral economy.”

Prudential plc CEO Mike Wells says: “Any future climate crisis will disproportionately affect the communities we serve in Asia and Africa. As a steward of long-term capital and a protector of people’s lives, we need to use our scale and expertise to drive decarbonisation at pace – and to do so in a way which is just and fully inclusive, is engaged with our stakeholders and delivers green growth which benefits everyone. Prudential intends to play the fullest possible role in the transition to the net-zero future which is essential if global temperature rises are to be controlled.”

(Prudential plc is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc., a company whose principal place of business is in the United States of America, nor with the Prudential Assurance Company Limited, a subsidiary of M&G plc, a company incorporated in the UK.)

About the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

The 42 members of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance have committed i) to transitioning their investment portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels; ii) to establishing intermediate targets every five years; and iii) to regularly reporting on progress. The Alliance is convened by UNEP’s Finance Initiative and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The Alliance is supported by WWF and Global Optimism, an initiative led by Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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