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Church Commissioners: Investment

Church Commissioners written question – answered on 12th February 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church Commissioners are taking to help ensure that companies they invest in and comply with the Paris climate agreement.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

The Church Commissioners have continued to pursue action on climate change as their overwhelming ethical investment priority.

The Commissioners have helped grow the number of companies involved in the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), which is now backed by investors representing over $18 trillion of assets under management and advice. TPI scores companies according to the quality of their management of climate change issues and indicates whether their carbon emissions are aligned with the pathways required to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In addition, the Commissioners have signed up to the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, requiring them to transition their portfolio to net zero emissions by 2050. The Alliance emphasises a change in the real economy and focuses on continued engagement with policymakers, companies and asset managers alongside low carbon investments, to create the conditions required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Commissioners are part of Climate Action 100+ and through their own programmes encourage as many high-emitting companies as possible to meet their climate expectations. Whilst the Church can divest from companies not taking climate change seriously, they are expecting to implement their next round of climate-related restrictions by the end of 2020. In 2023 a further systematic round of restrictions is expected if companies still do not change after engagement efforts, with tougher thresholds focusing on alignment of the fossil fuel sector and electric utilities with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Following sustained engagement from the Church and other investors BP have recently announced their ambition to become a net-zero emissions company by 2050.

The Church of England Pensions Board have also recently launched a Paris-aligned passive investment index with FTSE Russell and announced a commitment of £600m to the new Index.

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