Financial firm Aegon commits to net-zero emissions by 2050
Financial services firm Aegon has become the latest corporate to commit to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, targeting the decarbonisation of its pension fund ranges and main operations.
Aegon unveiled the net-zero commitment following extensive engagement with a customer steering panel. A survey of 1,375 customers, conducted by Aegon, found that 77% agreed that climate change was a considerable risk for investing, while 45% want to see net-zero become a mandatory requirement for the investor community.
Aegon’s managing director for investment solutions Tim Orton said: “As investment providers and a responsible business, we have a large part to play in the fight against climate change. We believe that this is not just an environmental issue, but one that is central to the future financial wellbeing of our customers.
“Investors are giving us a very clear message that they want to see action. Aegon and other providers have the power to influence the companies that they invest in and the third-party fund managers who provide investments. Businesses that fail to change, will fail.”
The 2050 target will cover emissions across the company’s default pension fund ranges. Aegon will also place its corporate operations under the net-zero ambition. Since 2016, Aegon’s main operations in the UK, Netherlands and the US have achieved carbon neutral status through emission reduction efforts and offsetting projects in partnership with ClimateCare.
The company also revealed at the end of 2020 that those invested in its LifePath and TargetPlan offers would benefit from boosted Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) exposure. Aegon anticipates that by the summer, more than £3bn from these assets will be invested in ESG strategies.
In related news, a group of pension funds and investment managers have come together to examine how long-term investment focus can be integrated into current practices to mitigate future disruptions and create a sustainable investment portfolio.
The steering group is a joint initiative between the Investment Association (IA) and the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).
The PLSA’s chair Richard Butcher said: “The relationship between asset managers and asset owners is vital if we are to achieve the objective of investing for good. If pension schemes are to deliver on an intention to invest in a climate-aware fashion they need to articulate that intention clearly enough that it will be delivered by their agents.
“This new group will develop ideas for overcoming these barriers and in doing so will significantly move the cause of investing for good forward. I’m personally and on behalf of the PLSA really glad to be involved.”