Asset sustainability push continues with net zero pledge

Almost half the world’s assets under management are now held by firms which are committed to reaching net zero targets before 2030.

The Net Zero Asset Managers’ Initiative has announced 41 leading asset managers, representing USD$6.8 trillion in assets, signed up to the initiative yesterday as the drive for sustainable investment gathers pace.

Among other steps, this will see the investors work with clients to reach net zero emissions alignment across their portfolios by 2050 or sooner and set interim 2030 emissions reduction targets. The additional signatories mean a total 128 investors, collectively managing $43 trillion in assets, are now part of the initiative.

The scheme was launched six months ago with the latest signatories taking the initiative close to representing almost half of the entire asset management sector globally in terms of total funds managed (standing at $100 trillion).

Leaders from some of the 41 firms which signed up this week were quick to support the scheme.

Nicolas Moreau, CEO, HSBC Asset Management said: “As the world moves to a net zero carbon future, we are committed to playing our part in addressing climate change, both as a business and as stewards of our clients’ assets. HSBC Asset Management is proud to be part of this important initiative and contribute to an industry-wide push to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”

Saker Nusseibeh, CBE, CEO, International at Federated Hermes said: “The position that we occupy as the investment management industry is one of unique influence. By way of intelligent and considered stewardship of capital we have the potential to effect genuine and positive change. Conversely, collective inertia risks compounding the crisis we face to an irreversible extent. It is for these reasons that we have a responsibility to make the right choices, to the benefit of our clients, their end beneficiaries and indeed society at large. We are proud to join the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative as a demonstration of our commitment to accelerate the transition to global net zero emissions.”

With participation more than quadrupling since launch, the initiative already includes the world’s three largest asset managers globally. Total assets collectively managed by investors as signatories to the initiative ($43 trillion) are now equivalent to the combined GDP of the United States, China and United Kingdom ($42 trillion).

The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative is managed globally by six founding partner investor networks: Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change said: “In just six months nearly half of the global asset management sector has committed to achieving net zero emissions with their clients across the funds they manage. This marks a fundamental tipping point across the investment sector and a significant boost in efforts to tackle climate change and decarbonise the global economy. There’s a lot more to achieve, but the sector is increasingly on a path to a net zero future.”

The initiative explained in achieving net zero alignment, the asset managers also commit to prioritise the achievement of real economy emissions reductions, take account of material portfolio emissions, create investment products aligned with net zero emissions and facilitate increased investment in climate solutions. Putting in place a stewardship and engagement strategy consistent with net zero emissions by 2050 and ensuring all policy advocacy supports the same objective, also help ensure the investors are driving broader change. Member firms also commit to transparent and rigorous accountability.

Signatories are working to publish details of their individual emission reduction targets in achieving net zero alignment ahead of the COP 26 summit to be held in Glasgow in November later this year.

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