In response to the threat of climate change, Aegon has announced its intention to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its default pension fund ranges by 2050. The threat of climate change is such that the company is exploring the practicability of achieving the milestone of halving emissions in the next decade.
The net zero carbon emissions pledge comes on top of another positive step forward for its default investors. At the end of 2020 Aegon confirmed those invested in its LifePath strategies, the default for its TargetPlan occupational schemes and Master Trust, would see a significant boost to its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) exposure. By mid-way through this year more than half of total LifePath assets, around £3bn, will be invested in ESG strategies.
There’s an urgent need to take action to address climate change, with customers making their feelings on the issue known. In a survey among Aegon’s customer panel*, 77% agree that climate change is an important risk to consider when investing for the future. Nearly half (45%) felt more strongly and wanted to see investing for a net-zero carbon future made mandatory.
The commitment to be carbon neutral is being addressed both from an investment perspective as well as a corporate perspective. Since 2016, Aegon’s main operations (UK, US and the Netherlands) have achieved carbon neutral status by reducing emissions from their own operations and supporting offset projects in cooperation with the NGO ClimateCare.
Tim Orton, Managing Director for Investment Solutions at Aegon 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.”
*Research was carried out with 1375 consumers on Aegon’s research panels in December 2020.