Phoenix Group sets out net-zero commitment

Phoenix Group, a UK-based long-term savings and retirement business, has committed to its operations being net zero carbon by 2025 and its investment portfolio by 2050.

In making a net-zero commitment, Phoenix is setting targets that will contribute to the global need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. Reducing environmental impact is part of Phoenix’s sustainability agenda, with sustainability core to its company purpose. Phoenix is setting net-zero carbon targets in two areas:

• Operations: ensuring the Scope 1 and 2 emissions of its occupied premises and the Scope 3 emissions from its business travel are net-zero carbon by 2025.

• Investment portfolio: setting a net-zero by 2050 target for its investment portfolio.

In making these commitments, Phoenix has become a Business Ambition for 1.5°C signatory and will be taking into account the best available scientific knowledge in this process. Phoenix also sees 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 the targets.

In relation to its operations, Phoenix 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.

For its investment portfolios, 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.  This is also 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 will do this by increasing its investment in assets that support the transition to a low carbon economy; and using its position as a significant asset owner to engage with investee companies and promote alignment to the Paris Agreement. It will reduce or ultimately eliminate its exposure to companies that show little progress following sustained engagement. 

Gareth Trainor, Head of Investment Solutions at Phoenix, says: “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 per cent 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.”