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The Department for Work and Pensions assesses climate change as a potential risk to its operational responsibilities.
The UK Government recognises climate change as a material risk to most if not all pension schemes. Therefore, we have clarified trustees’ investment duties in legislation to consider all financially material considerations – including climate change. Trustees have to document a policy on how they take account of climate change. Defined contribution and hybrid benefit schemes are required to publish their policy and defined benefit schemes will be required to publish from 1 October.
With respect to its own operations, the Department applies criteria that considers the effect of climate change, such as flood risk, when deciding on future site strategy.
The Department also undertakes regular reviews of their location specific emergency planning, disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
The Department’s estate supply chain is undertaking site visits which include an assessment of climate change risk with recommendations on investment. Investment in the Departmental estate is focused upon its core assets, with the level of criticality of those assets a key measure. This helps to ensure that its buildings are as resilient as possible. By using data, asset management principles and specialist knowledge we are able to identify assets most at risk of failure and to mitigate accordingly.
The DWP has a dedicated Estates Sustainability and Environment Team. Their purpose is to oversee that from an estate perspective: -
• Our effects on sustainability and the environment from appropriately managed and
• That risks from the environment are proportionately managed.
In terms of sustainability, the Department is committed to tackling climate change and delivering against the Government’s sustainability targets. We are currently exceeding our carbon reduction targets under the Greening Government Commitments (GGC). The GGC requires the Department to reduce carbon emissions by 51% by 2020 against a 2009/10 baseline. As of June 2019, we are currently at a 56% reduction.