BT Pension Scheme (BT PS), the UK’s largest company pension scheme, today becomes the thirtieth member of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, bringing total assets under management to $5 trillion.

The announcement came as BT PS said it has committed to an ambitious new goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1-3 emissions*) by 2035 across its £55 billion portfolio. The goal has been set to limit the risk climate change poses to the Scheme meeting its long-term commitments and will involve both reducing emissions from the Scheme’s portfolio and investing in assets that will support the transition towards a low carbon economy.

Morten Nilsson, CEO, BT PS Management said:

“As the global economy looks for ways to recover from the impact of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to do things differently. Over the next 15 years, the Scheme will be re-investing the majority of its assets and, as we look to deliver the best returns, we must not waste this opportunity to support a cleaner and greener future.

“Asset owners are uniquely placed to use their influence to drive decarbonisation and influence who has access to capital through setting targets to tackle climate change. But we cannot achieve this goal alone. Working in collaboration with other asset owners through the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance will not only be invaluable in supporting our goal, but we hope that working with others will also help the industry achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.”

The new climate change policy aligns BT PS with the Paris Agreement goals to keep global temperature rises within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2050.

Otto Thoresen, Chair, BT PS said:

“Continued increases in global warming will amplify existing risks and create new risks with potentially irreversible and catastrophic impacts on markets, society and the environment. Setting a net zero goal of 2035 is ambitious but, it’s important to take steps now to safeguard the future of the portfolio and the planet.”

Notes to editors

*Scope 1-3 emissions: The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an international accounting tool, categorises GHG emissions into ‘scopes’. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from the reporting company’s owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam energy, heating and cooling that have been consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in the reporting company’s value chain.

About the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

The Alliance is an international group of institutional investors committed to transition their investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, which was launched at the Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit. The initiative is centred upon a united investor action to align portfolios with a 1.5°C scenario, addressing the finance goal (Article 2.1c) of the Paris Agreement.

About BT Pension Scheme

The BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) is the largest private-sector pension scheme in the UK. It has c.300,000 members and c.£55bn of assets and pays out over £2.5bn in pension and other benefits every year.