Forty-three further asset managers have become new signatories of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, including major US index investors BlackRock and Vanguard Group, with APG Asset Management among many European joiners.

Launched in December with 30 founding entities, the initiative now has 73 signatories, representing $32trn (€27.2trn) in assets under management, more than a third of the total assets under management across the globe.

The initiative’s backers said the breadth of signatories “signals the determination of investors to play their part in achieving a net zero and resilient future and the global significance of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative”.

Asset managers joining the initiative commit to supporting the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner and to support investing aligned with net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

This includes, within a year of joining the initiative, submitting an interim target for the proportion of assets to be managed in line with reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. The idea is that the scope of assets being managed in line with the net-zero goal is increased until 100% is reached.

For BlackRock, joining the initiative reflects and follows commitments it set out in its annual letter to clients and corporate CEOs in January.

Larry Fink, its chair and CEO, said: “The asset management industry plays an important role as an advisor, at the nexus between asset owners and corporations. Helping investors prepare their portfolios and capture investment opportunities on the path to net zero is one of our greatest responsibilities.

“BlackRock is proud to put its name behind this initiative, and I am encouraged to see the increasing momentum towards net zero across the public and private sectors.”

Company analysis published last by investor engagement group Climate Action 100+ showed how much more work there is to be done to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Best practice goals

Cardano Group is another newcomer to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, although it had already committed its investment portfolios to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It said it joined to ensure it was “at the forefront of best-practice thinking”.

Kerrin Rosenberg, CEO of Cardano UK, said: “We have signed up to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative to share best-practice, coalesce around common methodologies, and to help send clear messages to our regulators and the companies we own of the need for a fast, smooth climate transition.”

The initiative today also announced that it had been “accredited” by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Race to Zero campaign. This mobilises a coalition of leading net-zero initiatives and networks, and requires that the commitments brought forward by them meet a minimum set of procedural criteria.

The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative today also disclosed that an advisory group had been appointed, drawn from representatives from the initial signatory asset managers: Wendy Cromwell, Wellington Management; Edward Mason, Generation; Chris Newton, IFM Investors; Catherine Ogden, LGIM; Takeo Omori, Asset Management One; and Corinna Orbach, DWS.

The advisory group will consider and provide recommendations to the Net Zero Asset Managers founding partners with regard to the operation of the initiative and serve as champions for its work.

Earlier this month the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change published the final version of a framework aimed at enabling both asset owners and asset managers to implement net-zero commitments.

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