The Church of England Pensions Board, Church Commissioners for England and CCLA, which collectively make up the NIBs, had agreed with Synod:
- to engage and work with companies in which we are invested to meet our climate hurdles,
- start to divest in 2020 from companies that are not taking seriously their responsibilities to assist with the transition to a low carbon economy;
- to ensure that by 2023 they have divested from fossil fuel companies that are not prepared to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement;
- and to seek and scale up investments in renewable energy and low carbon technology.
Loretta Minghella told Synod today: “Let us be clear from this platform to any fossil fuel company we are invested in, that is the focus of our engagement. As responsible investors we will walk with you, we will help you and we will support you if you commit to the changes we ask for. However, be under no illusion that if you do not meet our requirements, by 2023 at the latest, we will sell our holding.”
The NIBs in January 2020 committed to their investment portfolios being net zero no later than 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement. As asset owners and a fund manager with holdings across all aspects of the global economy, the NIBs’ journeys to net zero are reliant on influencing change in the real economy and policy environment as a whole, rather than solely implementing carbon-saving measures themselves.
The progress the NIBs reported to Synod included:
- Creation by NIBs of the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), with the Environment Agency Pension Fund, which the Pensions Board continues to chair. TPI provides the Net Zero Company Benchmark for Climate Action 100+, a global investor engagement initiative backed by 545 investors with $54tr of investable assets, accounting for a third of global investible capital.
- The NIBs engagement with high carbon-emitting companies addresses the companies’ value chains of suppliers and customers, aiming to reduce carbon emissions across the real world economy.
- In 2020, 12 companies made positive changes to meet the NIBs climate change hurdles. The NIBs disinvested from nine companies which didn’t meet the hurdles.
- The Pensions Board and Church Commissioners were leaders in engagement with Shell and ExxonMobil, leading to dramatic changes at both companies.
The NIBs committed to coming back to Synod in 2024 to report on further progress, and to doing all they can to ensure a Just Transition to net zero.
A report about the NIBs and their climate change progress can be found here.