Our net zero commitment

31 March 2022

As one of the UK’s largest pension funds, we know that how and where we invest matters. We firmly believe that investing responsibly supports long term value, reduces risk, and contributes towards better outcomes for everyone.

Climate change is a clear and present risk to the Scheme, not just a future risk. That’s why we’re announcing today an ambitious 2040 net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal.

Getting to net zero will involve both reducing emissions from our portfolio and investing in assets that will support the transition towards a low carbon economy. We’ve already made progress, but we know we need to do more. The first step in our net zero journey will be to reduce our carbon emissions by half by 2030.

This is not something we can do alone, we’re working hard with our advisers and appointed investment managers to make this a reality. You, our members, can also make a difference by choosing to receive digital communications which will help reduce the Scheme’s carbon emissions.

M&S has been leading the way on climate change for decades and we’re working together to help make sure the Trustee reaches its goal. You can find out more about M&S’ journey to net zero here.

This summer we’ll be publishing our first Climate Change Report, which will provide more information about our net zero goal and our journey towards it. It will also share more information about how the Trustee will manage the risks the Scheme may face in the challenge to combat climate change.

We’re committed to making a difference and sharing with you what we’re doing and why it matters.

What does net zero mean?

Net zero means simply that we don’t add any more greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere than we take out of it.

How will the Trustee measure the Scheme's reduction in greenhouse gas emissions?

The Trustee will use the Scheme's carbon footprint as a measure of its success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Scheme. A carbon footprint refers to the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions that result from the activities of an individual, group of people, or a company. The total carbon footprint of the Scheme is not only generated by the activities needed to run the Scheme itself, but also through the money it has invested into a range of different assets that make up the fund which is used to pay all members’ pensions.

Could this commitment put the financial health of the Scheme at risk?

The Scheme’s purpose is ultimately to provide security to its members, and this lies at the heart of every decision made by the Trustee. We‘ve chosen an ambitious net zero target not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because we strongly believe that investing responsibly supports long term value and reduces risk. Given the scale of the climate change emergency, not taking action now is more likely to put the financial health of the Scheme at risk in the future.