The Devon Pension Fund has pledged that its portfolio of investments will be net-zero by 2050 at the latest.
The Devon Pension Fund administers the pension scheme for the majority of Devon’s public sector, including emergency services and Local Government.
In the short-term, the Fund has also committed to invest over £200 million in renewable energy infrastructure funds via the Brunel Pension Partnership.
It follows a meeting of the Investment and Pension Fund Committee last Friday, where the committee members signed up to a commitment drawn up by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.
Additionally, the committee has pledged to work with the Brunel Pension Partnership to decarbonise all its current investments at a rate of seven per cent a year and to increase investments into carbon solutions.
The Fund’s investments in companies classed as ‘carbon intensive’ have fallen significantly over the last few years.
Weighted Average Carbon Intensity (WACI) is a measure of a portfolio’s investments in businesses that are deemed ‘carbon-intensive’.
When Devon’s Pension Fund’s WACI was last measured in December 2019 it showed a 21.5 percent reduction when compared to just nine months previously.
Another assessment is currently being conducted and is expected to show further reductions.
Chairman of the Investment and Pension Fund Committee, Councillor Ray Bloxham, said: “We are committed to not only reducing the carbon footprint of our
current investments but to ensure that in the long term our investments are carbon neutral.
“But simply pulling the plug on investing in carbon intensive industries isn’t the answer because they are inextricably linked to the very industries that are working to find sustainable solutions.
“To give an example, the steel industry is carbon intensive but is also vital in the production of the wind turbines we need to increase the supply of renewable energy.
“To achieve real emissions reductions, it is vital we engage with the companies we are invested in, to hold them to take responsibility for their product throughout its usage, not just in its manufacture.
“By doing this we aim to contribute to making real carbon reductions globally.”