A global coalition of 30 leading asset managers, representing over $9 trillion of assets under management (AUM) announced today the launch of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, committed to supporting the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.  Under the new initiative, the asset managers have pledged to support investing aligned with net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, and to prioritise the achievement of real economy emissions reductions within the sectors and companies in which the asset managers invest.

The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative will be managed globally by six Founding Partner investor networks, including Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The initiative has been endorsed by The Investor Agenda, an organization developed for the global investor community to accelerate and scale up the actions that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Each of the six investor networks are founding partners of the Investing Agenda.

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and Founding Partner of the initiative, said:

“We talk a lot of tipping points in our sector, but 30 of the world’s leading asset managers with assets under management of over $9 trillion committing to the goal of net zero by 2050 really can help tip the balance in favour of the global economic transition to net zero. This is action – not simply words.”

“The scale and significance of the asset managers joining the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative sends a clear signal to the wider sector that the financial firepower of institutional investors will be committed to making real progress towards a net zero and resilient future. As we reach the fifth anniversary of the Paris agreement, we extend an open invitation to all asset managers to join us in the commitment, collaboration and cohesion that will drive forward this initiative and the net zero transition.”

Signatories to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative make several commitments, including working in partnership with asset owner clients on decarbonisation goals, setting an interim target for the proportion of assets to be managed in line with the attainment of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, and reviewing the interim target every five years, with a view to ratcheting up the proportion of AUM covered until 100% of assets are included.

Additionally, the signatories stated that they have agreed to a series of further commitments, including setting interim targets for 2030 for assets to be managed in line with the net zero goal; taking account of portfolio Scope 1 and 2 emissions and to the extent possible, Scope 3 emissions; implementing stewardship and engagement strategies, with a clear escalation and voting policy, that is consistent with the ambition for all assets under management to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, and; creating investment products aligned with net zero emissions by 2050 and facilitating increased investment in climate solutions.

The 30 founding asset managers of the initiative are a.s.r. Asset Management, Anaxis Asset Management, Arisaig Partners, Asset Management One, ATLAS Infrastructure Partners, AXA Investment Managers, BMO Global Asset Management, Calvert Research and Management, CCLA Investment Management, Clean Energy Ventures, DWS, FAMA Investimentos, Fidelity International, Generation Investment Management LLP, Gulf International Bank Asset Management, Handelsbanken Fonder AB, IFM Investors, Inherent Group LP, Kempen Capital Management, Legal & General Investment Management, M&G plc, New Forests Pty Ltc, Nordea Asset Management, Robeco, Sarasin & Partners LLP, Schroders, Swedbank Robur, UBS Asset Management, Wellington Management and WHEB.

Gilbert Van Hassel, CEO, Robeco, said:

“It is clear from scientific reports about climate change and carbon emissions that society has to act now. We cannot solve big problems such as climate change and the rapid decline of biodiversity on our own. But what we can do is set a clear example for the broader industry, work together and encourage other financial institutions such as asset managers to follow suit. We have set this ambition with the conviction that investing is not only about creating wealth but also about contributing to well-being.”

Asoka Woehrmann, CEO, DWS, said:

“These times call for leaders. The asset management industry plays a fundamental role in leading the way towards a net zero carbon economy and society. While DWS was an early mover in responsible investments, now is the time to take another bold step. We are committed to transparency and targets to progress the era of sustainability.”

The signatories have committed to submitting disclosures in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures recommendations and climate action plans through The Investor Agenda investor networks for review.