The three leading companies representing more than £30bn in pension assets have pledged their net-zero commitments no later than 2050.
Marks & Spencer (M&S), The Co-Operative (Co-op) and Royal Mail have pledged to halve emissions of their investments no later than 2030 and set net-zero goals, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.
M&S has gone a step further and announced its ambitious net-zero commitment by 2040. Speaking at the recent Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) conference in Edinburgh, Simon Lee, Head of Pensions at M&S, said: “We have been making progress for a number of years, but as the climate emergency escalates, we all need to do more. The trustee has chosen an ambitious 2040 net-zero target because it can and should strive to achieve better outcomes for everyone.”
Both Royal Mail and Co-op have committed to become net-zero by 2050. Richard Law Deeks, chief executive of Royal Mail Pension Plan, added: “As a responsible and long-term investor, we are determined to follow a credible and robust pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050, aligned with our fiduciary duty to protect the pension of our members.”
This news comes as a recent Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) survey found that 75% of pension schemes have net-zero plans in place, or will do within the next two years. This announcement, citing combined pension assets of £30bn, highlights that other older defined benefit pension (DB) schemes must also follow suit.
With more than £1.5trn of UK pension savers’ investments in schemes, there is still a long way to go. Richard Curtis, co-founder of Make My Money Matter (MMMM) says “Older schemes may face additional challenges in reaching net-zero, but that does not mean they cannot do it. M&S, Royal Mail and Co-op are showing the rest of the sector that it can be done.”
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