Only 6 per cent of Irish pension schemes have a policy in place to target net-zero carbon emissions, according to a recent poll by the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF).
The poll, conducted at the IAPF’s DC conference, also found that 47 per cent of respondents have ‘never considered’ a net-zero target. A further 31 per cent stated that they are discussing it with their consultants/managers.
Speaking at the conference, Make My Money Matter (MMMM) CEO, Tony Burdon, said that almost half of respondents not considering net zero “shocks” him.
“To not have considered it at all, when everyday you can see the impacts of climate change, but even worse, you can see what’s happening to the value of the oil and gas industry, you can see regulation happening globally, you can see requirements with TCFD reporting, all of these things means that surprises me,” he said.
MMMM’s first campaign focus is to tackle the climate emergency. According to Burdon, the average pensions fund’s holdings is currently aligned with around 4 degrees of global warming.
“The Paris climate agreement of 2015 agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees if catastrophic climate change is to be avoided. What that means is pension funds in the UK, US and Ireland have helped not just cause the climate emergency but continue to drive it, harming people and the planet but also putting member savings at risk,” he stated.
Countries committing to “ambitious net-zero targets” and new regulations continuing to come into force will lead to major shifts in business and investments, he added. “And as long-term investors, it is vital that pension funds invest in that future economy”.
Burdon also highlighted that “evidence shows ESG funds outperform the market” and that UN special envoy for climate action and finance, former Bank of England governor and MMMM supporter, Mark Carney, describes the commercial opportunity from investing in sustainable business as “the biggest in living memory”.
Therefore, Burdon said he hopes people will go to their investment consultants and fund managers and really start to engage with implementing net zero, as “there’s a big shift happening across the industry but it’s happening too slowly”.
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