Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK), Germany’s largest pension fund with €97.2bn in assets under management, has become the first pension institution in the country to join the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (AOA).

“Asset owners such as ourselves want to use their investment strategies on a worldwide scale to help limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement,” said BVK’s chief investment officer André Heimrich.

“For us, sustainability has long been a key focus, and we will render our contribution to achieving a climate-neutral economy,” he added.

Nicole Becker, head of board affairs and sustainability in the investments division of BVK, said that BVK’s membership in the Net-Zero AOA represents an important step as part of continued efforts of the pension provider to develop its sustainability strategy in capital investments.

She added: “This clear positioning helps us to sharpen and implement our goals in the asset classes with the utmost stringency. Essential structures for achieving the goals of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance have already been established via our engagement approach with the exercising of voting rights as well as our internal and external sustainability analyses, and we will now expand these structures further.”

BVK had already joined the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), while signing the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

UK-based Phoenix Group, Legal & General (L&G) group, Rothesay, and insurance group Prudential, also joined the climate alliance alongside BVK, bringing the total number of affiliates to 42, with combined asset under management of $6.6trn.

Nigel Wilson, chief executive officer at L&G, urged the financial sector “to move from pledges to actions.”

He added: “We are committed to net zero by 2050 and to key quantifiable reductions to our carbon footprint along the way.”

The members of the Net-Zero AOA commit to set the investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Guenther Thallinger, the chair of the Net-Zero AOA and member of the board at Allianz, said that the decision of the new members sets an example for others to join in in the battle to contain climate change.

“We hope they will encourage other investors to act urgently to align their investment portfolios with a 1.5°C scenario and to play their role in meeting the Paris Agreement,” he said.

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