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Asset managers with $9 trillion under management commit to net zero goal

The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative have set a goel of reaching net zero carbon emissions across their investment portfolios by 2050 or sooner.. (EPA/Georgi Licovski)

Thirty of the world’s leading asset managers representing over $9 trillion of assets under management (AUM) have set a goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.

The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative is one of a raft of new commitments announced in the last few weeks to coincide with the five-year anniversary of Paris climate accord, and amid growing urgency to tackle the growing climate crisis.

The signatories, which include UBS Asset Management, Robeco, Axa Investment Managers, Sarasin & Partners and Fidelity International among others, said they plan to work in partnership with clients on decarbonisation goals.

The group will also set an interim target for the proportion of assets to be managed in line with the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner with the view of increasing that target until all assets they oversee are included.

David Blood, senior partner, Generation Investment Management, a firm he co-founded with former US vice president Al Gore, said:

“The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative represents a significant moment on the road to addressing the climate crisis. The transition to net zero will be the biggest transformation in economic history and we want to send a clear signal that there is simply no more time to waste. The opportunities to allocate capital to this transition over the coming years cannot be underestimated. Without the asset management industry on board, the goals set out in the Paris Agreement will be difficult to meet.”

The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative will be managed globally by six founding partner investor networks, namely: 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). In turn, the initiative is endorsed by The Investor Agenda, of which the investor networks are all founding partners

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and founding partner of the initiative, said:

“We talk a lot of tipping points in our sector, but 30 of the world’s leading asset managers with assets under management of over $9 trillion committing to the goal of net zero by 2050 really can help tip the balance in favour of the global economic transition to net zero. This is action – not simply words.”

She added: “The scale and significance of the asset managers joining the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative sends a clear signal to the wider sector that the financial firepower of institutional investors will be committed to making real progress towards a net zero and resilient future. “

The initiative will continue to expand over the coming months and is also set to join the ‘Race to Zero’, the UNFCCC-led global campaign that brings together net zero commitments from a range of leading networks and initiatives across the climate action community.

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