Climate Action

Church of England joins Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance

The Church of England has joined the UNEP-FI Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, bringing total assets under management to over $4.3 trillion.

  • 23 January 2020
  • Rachel Cooper

The Church of England has joined the UNEP-FI Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, bringing total assets under management to over $4.3 trillion.

This week, the Church of England’s three National Investment Bodies (NIB) joined the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.

Italian insurance group Generali also joined the Alliance, bringing the collective assets under management to over $4.3 trillion.

The Alliance has finalised its governance and objectives for 2020 and will focus on three core areas: advancing its measurement and public reporting; engaging with portfolio companies on a net zero target; and engaging policymakers towards policies supportive of net-zero economy ambitions.

Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FI, said: “We welcome the Church of England national investment bodies and Generali to the Asset Owner Alliance. All members are showing an extremely high level of commitment to portfolio decarbonization, as they hold themselves accountable on progress by setting and publicly reporting on intermediate targets in line with the Paris Agreement.”

The 18 strong group of pension funds and insurers are committed to decarbonize their portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Alliance will not achieve this through divestment, instead they will work closely with portfolio companies to change their business models, adopting climate friendly practices and ideally setting a net-zero target based on what science says is necessary to strive for a 1.5°C world.

Andrew Brown, CEO of the Church Commissioners for England, said: “As part of our commitment to the Paris Agreement, the Church Commissioners are pleased formally to state our commitment to transition our investment portfolio to net zero emissions by 2050. We urge all governments, investors and companies also to commit to net zero 2050 to address the climate emergency.”

Fiona Reynolds, CEO of the PRI, said: "The UN Asset Owner Alliance is perhaps the most exciting climate initiative of the new decade, because asset owners aren’t just asking companies to commit to a Paris aligned world, they are committing to action—to transition their entire portfolios to net zero by 2050 with metrics, targets and regular reporting to hold themselves accountable—thereby demonstrating real leadership."

Photograph: Philip Pankhurst