Marks and Spencer, Royal Mail and Co-op commit to green pension schemes

Marks and SpencerMarks and Spencer (M and S), Royal Mail and Co-op have committed to making their pension schemes ‘go green’ in 2022, through robust net zero targets.

The businesses aim to halve the emissions of their investments by 2030 at the latest, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Collectively, the commitments could see more than £30 billion of UK pension money linked to the cause of tackling the climate crisis.

The M and S Pension Scheme has made the most ambitious pledge out of the three employers, targeting net zero across its portfolio by 2040. The Royal Mail Pension Plan and Co-op have both committed to 2050 targets.

According to Make My Money Matter, a campaign founded by filmmaker and activist Richard Curtis, more than £1.5 trillion of UK pension savers’ investments remain in pension schemes which have not made robust net zero commitments, such as older defined benefit (DB) schemes.

Simon Lee, chief investment officer and head of Marks and Spencer Pension Trust, said: “With over 100,000 members, the M and S Pension Scheme must provide security to its members and their beneficiaries for many years to come. The trustee firmly believes investing responsibly supports this duty, reducing risk and protecting the scheme over the long term.”

Richard Law-Deeks, chief executive officer of Royal Mail Pension Plan, added: “As a responsible and long-term investor, we are determined to follow a credible and robust pathway to net zero emissions by 2050, aligned with our fiduciary duty to protect the pensions of our members.

Gary Dewin, people director of pensions, benefits and rewards at Co-op, concluded: “In 2021, we published our 10-Point Climate Plan as part of our vision, co-operating for a fairer world. This plan is a blueprint for how Co-op is addressing the severe challenge our planet faces.”