£352bn investors’ coalition launched to push for clean energy

A new £352bn coalition of investors including large insurer Aviva and major public and private funds in the UK, Norway and France has been launched to put pressure on some of the world's biggest corporations to clean up their electricity sources.

Aviva Investors – the £267bn arm of one of the UK’s biggest insurers – is one of 20 founding members of the initiative, which launcheD on Wednesday in Paris as negotiators at UN climate talks work against the clock to thrash out a new deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Other members include the French public sector fund ERAFP, Norway’s largest private pension fund KLP and Strathclyde pension fund, one of the UK’s largest public pension funds.

The investors will call on the biggest companies on the stock exchange to switch to using 100% renewable electricity, by making a public pledge to join the RE100 campaign, which works to increase corporate demand for clean energy. Businesses joining set their own targets for transitioning to 100% renewable electricity.

Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, said that the campaign “has the potential to be an important component of managing carbon impact and delivering a business model in line with 2C.”

On Monday, Coca-Cola, the BMW Group as well as the publishing and educational multinational Pearson joined the 50 strong group of companies who have already made the commitment. Others include Google, Nike, Starbucks, Microsoft and Adobe.

Catherine Howarth, chief executive at ShareAction, the responsible investment charity that brought together the investors to form the coalition, told the Guardian: “I think it’s going to hugely accelerate the pace at which big corporates around the world commit to transitioning their businesses to using renewable energy for electricity. When shareholders – particularly when working collectively – get right behind something that also makes good business sense it really accelerates the pace at which businesses’ boards look seriously and move on something.”

The launch of the investor initiative follows the announcement last week that more than 500 institutions worldwide worth $3.7tn have now committed to move their investments out of fossil fuels. Meanwhile as negotiators and national ministers try to thrash out a deal in conference centre in the Le Bourget suburb of northern Paris, hundreds of mayors from around the world have been meeting to set independent targets to decarbonise their cities.

Howarth, who is also on the board of the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian, said: “There has been a huge energy created through the [UN climate talks] process and a wonderful dynamic created where all over the world people are making commitments to transition, whether it’s in the investment community, the corporate community or in cities. This drumbeat of positive announcements will help to create the conditions in which the negotiators on the inside at Le Bourget are hopefully feeling that positive energy to bring us closer to a deal.”

Emma Howard

This article first appeared on the Guardian

edie is part of the Guardian environment network

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie