The UK’s biggest Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) investment pool has today set out its plan for living up to the 2050 net-zero climate emissions pledge it made a year ago.

However, Border to Coast Pensions Partnership is including less than two thirds of the assets it manages in the targets, with private assets still in need of better data, according to the organisation’s Net Zero Implementation Plan published today.

Rachel Elwell, chief executive officer of Border to Coast, said: “To have a real impact and make a real difference we need strong and coherent collaborative action from investors, policymakers, regulators, and businesses to make sure that the global ambition for net zero does indeed become a reality.”

The Leeds-based investor, which manages assets for 11 LGPS funds around the country, said its plan targeted a 53% reduction in financed emissions across its portfolios by 2025 and a 66% reduction by 2030, reaching the status of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. 

“Currently, 60% of the £38.3bn of assets Border to Coast is responsible for are covered by the plan’s emission reduction targets,” it said.

“Border to Coast will continue to work with industry to improve data quality and methodologies to enable the remaining 40% – comprised of private market and some fixed income assets – to be brought into scope over time,” the partnership said.

This summer, consultancy Hymans Robertson warned that private markets managers were failing to provide their clients with the information they needed to effectively manage climate risks, citing research it had done into the level of climate data asset managers could provide on their funds for private debt, private equity, real estate and infrastructure.

Border to Coast said this morning that its net-zero plan was aligned with the global goals of the Paris Agreement and followed the Net Zero Investment Framework set by the Institutional Investors Group for Climate Change.

The roadmap’s publication comes a year after the partnership’s formal committed to the 2050 goal and it joining the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative.

Border to Coast said the roadmap showed how the organisation would “continue to leverage its collective scale and influence to proactively engage with companies to decarbonise and create investment propositions aligned with net-zero emission goals.”

“It will also deliver increased opportunities for its partner funds to invest in climate solutions and collaborate to improve data and reporting across the investment industry,” the investor said.

The roadmap details a an approach involving four pillars: governance and strategy; targets and objectives; stewardship, engagement and policy advocacy and asset class alignment.

Mark Lyon, Border to Coast’s deputy chief investment officer, said strong and consistent engagement would help the organisation achieve real reductions in global carbon emissions — which in turn would be key to combatting climate change and delivering the long-term investment outcomes the 11 partner pension funds needed.

“Our scale and capabilities mean that we are well equipped to influence real change at companies and within the wider investment industry, as well as to support the development of new solutions to the climate crisis,” Lyon said.

The 11 local authority pension funds in the partnership are Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Durham, East Riding, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Surrey, South Yorkshire, Teesside, Tyne and Wear and Warwickshire.

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