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Belters and blunders

4 March, 2021

We always enjoy seeing our clients making waves with their sustainability work and recently we’ve been in for a treat.

First, our friends at Virgin Media announcing their new net zero emissions commitment as part of their new sustainability strategy, the ‘Meaningful Connections Plan’. This net zero target is notable for its urgency, with Virgin Media planning to offset its operational emissions by 2025 while pursuing a science-based emissions reduction strategy. Alongside this, they have a broad commitment to connect 1.5 million people with their communities in a meaningful way and supporting underrepresented groups.

Meanwhile, Aviva has become the first major insurer to commit to a net zero investment portfolio by 2040. As one of the largest asset managers in the UK, with £300bn of assets under management, this is no easy task. But it will work to reduce the carbon intensity of its investments by 60% by 2030 and use its influence to engage with its most carbon intensive holdings to set science-based emissions reduction targets themselves or face divestment.

Moving to net zero is not an uncomplicated area, as Mark Carney proved last week when he claimed that the Canadian asset manager, Brookfield, of which he is the Vice Chair, has achieved net zero status as a result of the renewable investments in its portfolio counterbalancing fossil fuel investments. This was met with widespread criticism as representing a misuse of carbon accounting.

Net zero is a complex but also crucial commitment for businesses to make, and an area that we’ve been thinking about a lot recently – watch this space as we share more thoughts next week …

By Patrick Bapty

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