Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, the largest UK Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) investment pool, has now given a timeframe for detailing how it intends to make good on the climate pledge made nearly a year ago.

In its 2021/22 responsible investment and stewardship report released this morning, the pool said it had established a climate change project, sponsored by chief executive officer Rachel Elwell, which consisted of a number of “workstreams” led by senior members of its team.

“The purpose of the project is to enable Border to Coast to establish our plan to achieve net zero, which we will publish in a roadmap in Autumn 2022,” the Leeds-based partnership said, adding that it was working closely with its partner funds throughout the process.

Border to Coast – which is now responsible for £38.3bn (€45.7bn) of municipal pension assets – published its climate change policy in late September 2021, incorporating a commitment to become net zero across its investment portfolios by 2050 or sooner, and also joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative.

Border to Coast said the forthcoming roadmap would include the setting of interim targets for 2025 and 2030; an engagement strategy “designed to achieve real economy emissions reductions within the sectors and companies in which we invest”, as well as plans to make and develop investment propositions that were aligned with achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The UK pensions pool, whose 11 local government pension fund owners include those of Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Surrey, said the roadmap would also include its approach to working with the industry to improve carbon data disclosure.

In the report, the partnership divulged it had voted at 930 shareholder meetings internationally in the year ending March 2022 – which is slightly more than the previous year’s figure of 902 meetings – and voted against company management in 14% of cases, compared with 12% the year before.

Outlining its future work on responsible investment, Border to Coast said generally that there would be new challenges and opportunities in the year ahead, because, it said, sustainability, including biodiversity and climate change, remained key focus areas.

“As a large investor we can make a real difference through the investments we make, our role as an active steward, and engagement with policymakers, regulators and other market participants,” the UK pensions pool said in the report.

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