ERAFP, KLP and PensionDanmark have signed the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, joining PKA to take the tally of pension fund signatories to four.

The convenors said they would like to encourage other pension funds to commit.

They announced the new signatories – nine in total, including Nordea Asset Management – in connection with a business and nature conference taking place yesterday and today.

Launched in September last year, the pledge now counts 84 signatories from across 18 countries and with more than €12trn in total assets. There are no obligations after signing the pledge except fulfilling the promises, which are to protect and restore biodiversity through their finance activities and investment.

The Finance for Biodiversity Foundation is an observer member of the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)

LGPS funds add to net-zero trend

The Tyne and Wear Pension Fund said it has commited to reducing its carbon footprint by up to 35% by 2025 and by up to 60% by 2030, from 2019 levels. 

Members of the local government pension fund’s pensions committee also set a net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050 or sooner. The fund said it would now produce a roadmap setting out how it would deliver its policy and would work closely with its pooling partner Border to Coast and other asset managers to achieve its ambitions.

The £2.7bn Swansea Pension Fund has also joined the ranks of those setting net-zero targets, with its main committee agreeing a target year of 2037.

According to an announcement from the council, the pension fund planned to materially increase the proportion of investments that had “a positive focus on the climate”. Currently 7% of the fund’s investments had direct ties to fossil fuels and these would be “cut to nil” before 2037.

Periphery ‘trailblazing’ in wind and solar

Italy, Spain and Turkey are developing “trailblazing” domestic wind and solar companies, potentially at the expense of incumbent European renewable hubs such as Germany, according to a study by Lombard Odier and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (SSEE) at the University of Oxford.

The finding is one of several resulting from an assessment of countries’ abilities to capitalise on the green transition, and augmenting this with analysis of the global corporate landscape in wind and solar.

Lombard Odier and SSEE said their report offered a global, 25-year-long perspective on countries’ standing in global trade in high-growth green industries, and the extent to which each country had adequately directed their COVID-19 recovery spending to ’build back greener’.

Michael Urban, deputy head of sustainability research at Lombard Odier, said: “As countries around the world pledge their commitment to transition to more sustainable energy and production systems, the importance of capital allocation in driving solutions to climate change has never been greater. It is therefore critical to accurately determine which countries, industries and companies will survive, thrive, and come to define the new industrial landscape.”

The report can be downloaded here.

AMX creates tax transparent CCF for Storebrand

Willis Towers Watson’s Asset Management Exchange (AMX) has announced the launch of a tax transparent Common Contractual Fund (CCF), which enables UK pension funds, to reclaim dividend withholding tax, for Storebrand Asset Management.

The tax transparent structure is for a climate risk mitigation strategy that East Sussex Pension Fund is using for half of its passive equities portfolio.

According to the AMX announcement, the climate-tilted fund has also attracted additional commitments from institutions that are in the process of funding.

Austrian scheme launches venture capital fund

The Austrian provident fund fair-finance Vorsorgekasse has launched a social entrepreneurship venture capital fund to invest in companies with an innovative business model, in partnership with the Senat der Wirtschaft, a corporate organization.

Fair-finance has invested €5m in the fund.

The venture capital fund is open to institutional investors in German-speaking countries that intend to participate as co-investors, Fair-finance announced.

The fund has carried out seven investments so far, one in Memocorby, a company that has developed a digital tool for speech and language therapy for patients with aphasia or suffering from dementia.

‘Meat & dairy results sour COP26 methane and deforestation ambitions’

The FAIRR investor network has published the latest annual edition of its protein producer index, according to which only 18% of livestock producers measure even partial methane emissions.

The index assesses 60 publicly-listed animal protein producers against 10 ESG-related factors, with the results available free to investors.

According to FAIRR’s analysis, 42 of 45 meat and dairy firms that source soy for animal feed from high-risk deforestation areas such as the Cerrado in Brazil do not have a poliy to mitigate deforestation in all sourcing areas.

“As the largest driver of both methane from human activity and deforestation, the ambitions set at COP26 handed a big slice of responsibility to the food and agriculture sector […] yet failures from methane to manure management underline the growing sense in the market that cows are the new coal,” said Jeremy Coller, chair of the FAIRR investor network.

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