Phoenix Group sets route to net-zero

Phoenix Group has committed to reducing its carbon emission intensity for its £250bn investment portfolio by at least 50 per cent by 2030, as part of its pathway to meet net-zero carbon investments by 2050.

The commitment is in line with their science-based targets commitments, and is expected to deliver carbon reductions equivalent to the annual emissions of heating over 6 million homes, or a quarter of all homes in the UK.

The group also set an interim target for a 25 per cent reduction carbon emission intensity of their investments, covering all listed equity and credit assets where Phoenix Group can exercise control and influence, equal to around £160bn.

Alongside the climate commitment, Phoenix Group has announced a partnership with Make My Money Matter, and have pledged their support to the campaign.

It emphasised that it is committed to using its position as a large asset owner to integrate sustainability into every aspect of the investment ecosystem, arguing that “true collaboration is at the heart of the journey to net zero”.

Phoenix Group group CEO, Andy Briggs, commented: “At Phoenix Group we have set an ambition to lead the way on Responsible Investment and to drive forward action to support the transition to a zero carbon economy.

"Setting interim near term targets is an important milestone on our journey to our investments becoming net zero by 2050 or earlier, to which I am personally committed.

“Investing responsibly is also about encouraging good corporate governance practices and positively contributing to environmental and wider societal issues, while managing risk and ensuring good outcomes for customers.

"We have been working with government and our industry to influence legislation that will enable our entire industry to invest more in sustainable assets."

He added: “With just 20 per cent of the world’s largest public companies having committed to net-zero targets, and only a quarter of these pledges passing basic robustness tests, we are encouraging others to take action and set near-term targets in line with the climate science too.

"We will be working with partners in the financial ecosystem and the many companies we invest in to encourage wider uptake of robust net zero aligned pledges and plans.

“We will continue to drive forward action and by partnering with Make My Money Matter, we hope to inform the debate, harness the power of pensions, and support the case for further change as we approach COP26.”

Adding to this, UK Net Zero Business COP26 champion, Andrew Griffith, said: “We are putting businesses at the heart of our net-zero ambitions, so it is fantastic to see companies like Phoenix Group showing leadership by setting clear targets for reducing their carbon emissions.

“With the UN COP26 summit in Glasgow less than a month away, I hope this type of bold action will encourage other businesses to work with government and make similar commitments as we build back greener.”

Make My Money Matter co-founder Richard Curtis, also said that the commitment "sets the pace for other pension providers ahead of COP26", suggesting that the pledge "proves how powerful our pensions can be.

“That’s the good news - but there's still nearly £2trn in UK pension schemes that don't align with the Paris Climate Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C – and this has to change," he clarified.

“I hope leadership like this by Phoenix Group encourages others across the industry to step up to the plate fast and make robust net-zero commitments ahead of COP, so we can all have pensions to be proud of. With sustainable pensions, we can make sure our money helps build a healthy planet, as well as healthy returns."

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