Trio of UK brands commit pensions to net zero

Collectively more than £30bn of UK pension money now dedicated towards tackling the climate crisis

A number of high-profile British brands including M&S and Royal Mail have made net-zero pledges for their pension schemes.

M&S, Royal Mail and Co-op have all committed to halving the emissions of their pensions investments by 2030 at the latest in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. This means collectively more than £30bn of UK pension money dedicated towards tackling the climate crisis.

Richard Curtis, co-founder of Make My Money Matter, which is campaigning for UK pension schemes to commit to robust net-zero plans and report regularly on their progress, said the trio of companies’ commitments shows it is possible for older, defined benefit pension schemes to navigate the obstacles they face in outlining a credible climate transition plan.

“Over the past year, we have woken savers up to the power of their pension and seen more than £1.2trn committed to tackling the climate crisis. However, there is still a long way to go and the hard work starts now,” he said.

“Older schemes may face additional challenges in reaching net zero – but that doesn’t mean they can’t do it. M&S, Royal Mail and Co-op are showing the rest of the sector that it can be done. We are calling on all remaining schemes to follow in their footsteps so that no pension holder is forced to invest in the very industries that will destroy our future.”

See also:- £1trn of pension money committed to ‘robust’ net zero

Make My Money Matter is now calling on the entire £2.7trn UK pension sector to help tackle climate change.

The announcement added the M&S scheme has made the most ambitious pledge target targeting net zero across its portfolio by 2040, while the Royal Mail Pension Plan and Co-op which have committed to Paris-aligned 2050 targets.

Simon Lee, head of Marks and Spencer pension trust and CIO at the M&S pension scheme commented: “The trustee firmly believes investing responsibly supports this duty, reducing risk and protecting the scheme over the long term.

“We’ve being 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. A challenging journey lies ahead and it’s not something we can do alone, governments, financial institutions, our advisers and investment managers will need to play their part to make this a reality.”