Financial firms pledge for Green GB Week

Aberdeen Standard, HSBC and Hargreaves Lansdown are among the companies to pledge so far

Aberdeen Standard Investments, Hargreaves Lansdown, and HSBC are among the financial institutions to have made sustainable business pledges as part of the UK government’s Green GB Week.

The UK government’s planned week of activities, between 15 and 19 October, will champion sustainability in business and celebrate clean growth innovation.

As part of the campaign businesses were encouraged to pledge to make measurable changes in the areas of Energy, Resources, Mobility, The Built Environment or Business Leadership.

Financial services businesses to pledge at the time of writing included HSBC, whose UK Pensions Scheme has committed to investing £250 million in UK renewable energy infrastructure, including solar parks and wind farms around the country.

Announcing the move, Russell Picot, chairperson of the Trustee Board for HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Limited, said: “Renewable energy infrastructure can provide attractive risk adjusted returns for investors seeking predictable cash flows derived from real assets over the long term.

“The investment characteristics of inflation linked assets such as these are well suited to provide the income required to meet our long-term pension liabilities.”

Asset management group Aberdeen Standard Investments pledged to make its Airport Industrial Property Unit Trust real estate fund entirely carbon-neutral by 2025, while its parent company Standard Life Aberdeen pledged to procure all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, at all of its sites worldwide.

Dan Grandage, head of ESG, Real Estate at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said the company has a strong commitment to ESG issues across all areas of the business.

He added: “Real estate is very energy intensive and therefore has a direct impact on the environment. I would encourage all companies to integrate climate change considerations into their real estate operations and management.”

Separately, investment advisory group Hargreaves Lansdown committed to transferring more of its customer’s investments and pensions in a digital fashion, rather than through paper-based transactions.

KPMG, meanwhile, said it would replace all single-use plastic cups in every hot drinks dispenser throughout the business with compostable or paper cups. It estimated that the measure would save three million plastic cups each year.