Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance More Than Triples Membership To 37 Since 2019 Launch


The United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance  announce in April a tripling in membership from its launch at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit in September 2019, with 37 members now committing to set and report on interim targets towards net-zero portfolio emisisons by 2050.

Alliance members Wespath and the David Rockefeller Fund preview their 2025 portfolio decarbonisation targets, to be officially announced on Earth Day (22 April 2021), while the Church Commissioners for England announced its 2025 emissions reduction target in a statement. (see details below).

Günther Thallinger, Chair of the Alliance’s Steering Group and Member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE, said:

“Alliance members are demonstrating strong, early leadership by already setting science-based measurable targets for 2025. We have 16 members publishing firm targets for 2025 – targets that they will report on every year – and there are more member’s targets to come. This is a vital aspect of our work across our workstreams, which is setting the pace as the gold standard for net-zero investor commitments.”

The Alliance, with $5.7 trillion assets under management (AUM), today added French insurer Société Générale Assurances (AUM $152 billion) to the group, following Dai-ichi Life Insurance Group’s commitment in March – the first member to join from Asia.

Philippe Perret, CEO of Societe Generale Assurances, said:

“Societe Generale Assurances has made CSR a key element of its strategy, around 3 axis : responsible insurer, responsible investor and responsible employer. The adhesion to the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance is fully part of our will to act quickly and concretely in favour of the climate transition.”

By joining the Alliance, asset owners commit to set and report on interim targets towards achieving net-zero portfolio emissions by 2050 at the latest. Target-setting methodology is laid out in the Alliance’s Target Setting Protocol, published in January.

Net-Zero Alliance is part of the newly launched Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)

The Alliance is proud to announce that it is a part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which also saw UNEP FI bring together 43 of the world’s leading banks to form the UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance.

“The UN-conveved Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance looks forward to driving ambition in GFANZ and collaborating fully with all member inititiatives in pushing for the critical acceleration to a net-zero global economy,” said Dr Thallinger.

Earlier this year at a meeting with the CEOs of Aliance members, UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres described the Alliance as a “gold standard” for a slew of emerging net-zero commitments, backed by credible actions.

2025 decarbonisation targets

As of Thursday 22 April 2021, Earth Day, 16 Alliance members would have reported firm 2025 decarbonisation targets across select asset classes.

  • US-based Alliance member Wespath will detail how it plans to reduce the carbon intensity of its investment funds across by 35% from October 2018 levels by 2025.
  • The David Rockefeller Fund announced a 25% reduction in carbon emissions in the investment portfolio across select asset classes. The fund has a policy of engaging with the top corporate emitters within its holdings, as well as its largest asset manager relationships.
  • The Church Commissioners for England announced today its goal to reduce the carbon intensity of its investment portfolio by 25% by 2025.  As part of this ambition, the Church Commissioners commit to increasing engagement activity with the highest emitting companies in our portfolio, as well as with our investment managers across all asset classes, it said in a press release.

Tom Joy, Chief Investment Officer for the Church Commissioners for England, said in a press release published in April:

“Real action is necessary to respond to the climate emergency. Through this 2025 interim goal, the Church Commissioners are reaffirming their commitment to reaching net zero. This 25% reduction in carbon intensity will be the first step in getting there. We are pleased to work with the AOA and join others in this approach, which we are confident will make a real difference.”  

About the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

The 37 members of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance have committed i) to transitioning their investment portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels; ii) to establishing intermediate targets every five years; and iii) to regularly reporting on progress.

The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance released the Inaugural 2025 Target Setting Protocol after consultation on the draft, issued in October 2020.

THE COMMITMENT STATEMENT

Commit to transitioning its investment portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, taking into account the best available scientific knowledge including the findings of the IPCC, and regularly reporting on progress, including establishing intermediate targets every five years in line with the Paris Agreement Article 4.9.

In order to meet our fiduciary duty to manage risks and achieve target investment returns this Commitment must be embedded in a holistic ESG approach to managing sustainability considerations, incorporating but not limited to climate change, and must emphasise GHG emissions reduction outcomes in the real economy.

Seek to reach this Commitment, especially through advocating for, and engaging on, corporate and industry action, as well as public policies, for a low-carbon transition of economic sectors in line with science and under consideration of associated social impacts.

This Commitment is made in the expectation that governments will follow through on their own commitments to ensure the objectives of the Paris Agreement are met.

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