ESG explained.

Could taking ESG into account 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 we make. We strongly believe that investing sustainably supports long-term value and reduces risk, which helps deliver security to members.

How can you make the directors of companies you invest in take ESG factors into account?

We invest the Scheme’s funds through a number of investment managers. We expect appointed investment managers to take ESG factors into account as part of their investment analysis when choosing where to invest and when exercising their voting rights for companies we have invested in. We receive regular reporting from investment managers and encourage them to provide information about how they manage ESG factors. As a large pension scheme, we believe that we have the power to influence wider changes through regular engagement with investment managers on ESG factors and monitoring of how they take them into account.

How will the Trustee measure the Scheme’s carbon 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.

Can the Scheme really stop releasing any carbon emissions and reach net zero?

The aim of reaching net zero is to make sure that we don’t release more carbon into the atmosphere than we take out of it. This means the activity to run the Scheme will still result in carbon emissions being released, but over time the amount will become significantly lower and we’ll look actively for ways to offset any carbon the Scheme does release. For example, providing online communications means much lower amounts of carbon are released because we’re not printing on paper and delivering letters through the postal system. Also, investing in renewables supports a reduction in the use of carbon to provide energy.

Who produces the data you use to measure how you’re doing against the net zero target?

We currently receive the carbon footprint of each of the Scheme’s investments from the investment managers that hold them. Our investment consultant, WTW, collates this information and provides the Scheme’s total carbon footprint. The need to provide this kind of data for pension schemes is new for many businesses. So, by 2025, our first net zero milestone is to have substantially improved the data we receive from our investment managers, and to collate this data from our advisers and suppliers.

How will we know that changes have been made that really have a positive impact because of the Trustee’s ESG mission?

We’ll continue to update members on the steps we’re taking to deliver the Trustee’s ESG mission through this website. We'll also provide an annual Climate Change Report to show you our progress towards our net zero target.