The Church of England Pensions Board (CEPB) will support a shareholder resolution at Japanese automaker Toyota’s annual general meeting (AGM) that calls on the company to improve disclosure of its lobbying related to climate change.
“We are supporting this resolution because we’re concerned that Toyota’s lobbying, and that of its industry associations, may be undermining the goals of the Paris agreement,” said Laura Hillis, director of climate and environment at CEPB.
“While we welcome that Toyota has produced previous disclosures related to climate lobbying, we believe we need more depth and detail to properly understand what Toyota is doing,” she added.
Hillis said that the resolution – filed by fellow shareholders AkademikerPension, APG, and Storebrand – “rightly calls for a greater level of detail” and an assessment of misalignment against the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“This is aligned with the Global Standard for Corporate Climate Lobbying, which we urge all companies we invest in to adopt in their reporting,” she noted.
The CEPB has a longstanding commitment to act on corporate climate lobbying, given the significant influence that companies and their industry associations can have on public policy around climate change.
Toyota has been independently assessed by InfluenceMap as currently having one of the weakest records on climate lobbying of global automakers – both directly and via its industry associations, CEPB stated.
According to InfluenceMap, this includes opposing stronger emissions reduction regulations applying to automakers in Canada, California, the US, Japan, New Zealand and the UK. It has also been assessed by the Climate Action 100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark and its data partner, the Transition Pathway Initiative, as having gaps in its disclosures on climate lobbying.
Avon Pension Fund invests £700m in climate-focused assets
The Avon Pension Fund has this week invested £700m in climate-focused assets, taking another significant step towards achieving its net-zero goals.
“We’ve worked with our asset manager to move over £700m of equity investments into an innovative, Paris-aligned funding solution,” the scheme announced on its website.
The Paris Agreement on limiting global warming forms the basis for the fund’s climate change investment objectives, it added.
In total, the fund now holds over £1bn in dedicated Paris-aligned index equity strategies and has moved away altogether from using standard market-cap indices.
Working with asset manager BlackRock, the Avon Pension Fund is one of the first Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) to embrace ESG approaches through this investment mechanism, the scheme noted.
Nathan Rollinson, investment manager at the Avon Pension Fund, said: “This new investment will help us as we work towards our net zero goals. We’re on track to lower the carbon emissions of our equity portfolio by two thirds by 2030, compared with 2019.”
Aegon pension scheme completes buy-in deal worth £160m
The Aegon UK Staff Retirement and Death Benefit Scheme has completed a £160m partial buy-in with Scottish Widows, covering the interest rate, inflation and longevity risk relating to around 500 members.
Hymans Robertson acted as the lead adviser on the deal, while Burness Paull provided legal support to the trustee. Scottish Widows was advised by Hogan Lovells.
Maurice Brunet, the scheme’s chair, said the buy-in deal was a “further significant step” in the implementation of the scheme’s de-risking strategy, which aims to improve the long-term security of all members’ benefits.
Teachers’ Pension Scheme picks admin
The UK’s Department for Education (DfE) has selected Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to administer and further enhance customer experiences for the Teachers’ Pension Scheme in England and Wales.
The scheme is the second largest public sector pension scheme in the UK with over two million members. TCS has been awarded a 10-year contract to manage the scheme administration services using a future-ready, digitally enabled, omnichannel platform powered by TCS BaNCS.
This will enable accurate administration of pension records, payment of benefits, effective scheme finance management, proactive member engagement and easy access to information.
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