Long-term savings and retirement business Phoenix Group announced today the launch of new sustainability commitments, including targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its operations by 2025, and in its investment portfolio by 2050.

In relation to its operations, Phoenix stated that it will set and pursue a 1.5°C aligned science-based emissions reduction target, with any remaining hard-to-decarbonise emissions compensated using certified GHG removal projects. The company’s 2025 goals include the Scope 1 and 2 emissions of its occupied premises and the Scope 3 emissions from business travel.

In terms of its investment portfolio goals, where Phoenix has the ability to influence the investment strategy or investment solution, it will aim to reduce the emission intensity to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. According to Phoenix, this commitment is consistent with the objective of limiting the temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures and is in line with the Paris Agreement and the commitment of the UK Government.

Phoenix also announced that in making these commitments, the company has become a signatory to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C, a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders committed to setting ambitious science-based emissions reduction targets. Phoenix stated as well that it views compliance with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which aims to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information, as a key enabler in helping to reach its new targets.

Today’s move caps a week of ESG investing-themed announcement for Phoenix Group. Earlier this week the company announced that it has signed the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), becoming the largest asset owner PRI signatory in the UK. The company also launched an ESG default solution for DC pension clients.

Gareth Trainor, Head of Investment Solutions at Phoenix said:

“It’s absolutely right that we make these commitments which are core to our Group’s sustainability agenda. This means that as a provider, our business will be net zero by 2025, and when it comes to pension investments, we will be taking our net zero target of 2050 into account for all the unit linked fund solutions we design with our investment partners. We know this is important for customers, clients, trustees and their advisers.

“Just this week we launched a new ESG default solution for Standard Life’s workplace pension clients, which will screen out companies with significant sustainability risks, with exclusions that will include thermal coal and unconventional gas, and UN Global compact violators. It will also include an uplift in green technology solutions by 50% and reduction in carbon intensity by 50% compared to the parent indices. We will be working with our partners in the years ahead to look at all our solutions, our benchmarks and stewardship, with our important net-zero 2050 commitments front of mind.”