Environmental Finance Magazine names Adam Matthews 'Personality of the Year'


Adam Matthews, Director of Ethics and Engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board has today been named ‘Personality of the Year’ at the Environmental Finance Sustainability Awards in recognition of his work in the field of responsible investment and climate action. The award was announced online and will feature in the summer edition of the magazine.

In addition to Adam’s role at the Pensions Board, Adam is Co-Chair of the Transition Pathway Initiative and a Board Member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, (IIGCC).  He is also the co-lead, on behalf of CA100+, for engagement with Royal Dutch Shell, alongside Robeco's Sylvia van Waveren, that led to the 2018 joint statement on climate targets agreed between Shell and CA100+ and in 2020 the publication of Shell’s net zero ambitions.

The magazine citied Adam’s engagement efforts as having helped major players such as Shell consider their impact and make industry leading commitments about their emissions and future targets.

Since becoming Director of Ethics and Engagement for the Pensions Board Adam has been instrumental in raising the Pensions Board’s engagement with companies and co-founded the Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative with John Howchin of the Council of Ethics of the Swedish National Pension Funds, following the devastating disaster in Brumadinho, Brazil. The Initiative has brought together community representatives, investors, global experts and mining companies to ensure future disasters do not occur. The Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, supported by 114 representing $14 trillion in assets under management, is a driving force of investors supporting improved disclosure and best practice in the mining sector, which has already led to the first ever global database of tailings dams. Along with the database, last week it was announced that agreement has been reached on the first Global Industry Standard on Tailings Storage Facilities.  Adam together with John represented PRI in the negotiations with the world’s largest mining companies (ICMM) and the UN (UNEP).

Adam was a co-founder and co-chairs the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) with Faith Ward (from Brunel Pension Partnership on behalf of the Environment Agency Pension Fund).  TPI, the innovative partnership between the London School of Economics and FTSE Russell and supported by 75 investors with over $20 trillion in AUM was also recognised by Environmental Finance today and named ESG Assessment Tool of the Year. Using the insights of TPI, Adam, supported by Dr Stephen Barrie and Dr Rory Sullivan, was also key in developing the FTSE TPI Climate Transition Index which launched earlier this year at the Stock Exchange.  This is the first passive index that imbeds forward looking climate performance data. At launch the Pensions Board committed to invest £600 million in the index.  The Board is also co-chairing with APG for ABP in the IIGCC Paris Aligned Investors Initiative (PAII). This Initiative is at the forefront of developing a framework by asset owners to meet commitments to be net zero.

The ESG Assessment Tool of the Year award is a recognition of the groundbreaking work of our research partners at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, our data partner FTSE Russell and of the success of our supporters in using TPI data to drive real-world impacts. 

John Ball, Chief Executive of the Church of England Pensions Board commented:

“Adam has driven an agenda for responsible investment that has had a material impact on the way oil companies, investors and mining companies are behaving. His and his team’s efforts are positive proof that investors have a crucial role to play in the ethical finance and investment world.”

Speaking following the announcement of this award, Adam Matthews said:

“As an asset owner (let alone as an individual) we know we can achieve little by ourselves but through collaborations and partnerships real systemic change is possible.  I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all my colleagues.  We are now entering a time when innovative partnerships between asset owners, progressive fund managers and companies, based upon common ambitious objectives, will drive the change our beneficiaries and society demand of us. I remain enormously grateful to the many funds that share common cause with us.”

A full list of award winners can be found of the Environmental Finance website, here.