As well as Earth Day today is also the 5-year anniversary of the signatures to the Paris Climate Agreement, which has been a turning point for climate action in producing country-level emissions targets globally. Since 2016, climate change has risen in the global agenda, with all parts of society now being called at, to work towards the common target of keeping warming well below 2°C since pre-industrial levels.
As a business, EQ Investors (EQ) recognises the global climate emergency and has committed to become a net zero carbon emission business by 2030, alongside a group of global B Corporations. In doing so, EQ takes responsibility in supporting the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Since setting our commitment last year, we have developed a strategy for EQ’s journey to net zero and taken concrete steps to act on it. We can broadly differentiate our approach to net zero along two lines – our operations and our investment management.
- We are committed to measuring the carbon footprint of our operations and working with stakeholders to reduce these emissions over time. We have just concluded out first operational carbon foot-printing exercise for 2020:
- Our first step to reduce our operational emissions is to engage with key suppliers to set similar climate targets. We have developed a supplier code of conduct to help us set expectations.
- We have committed to offset the remaining emissions that cannot be mitigated. We have spent considerable efforts researching carbon offsetting strategies and products – and it is fair to say that most approaches carry significant weaknesses. As portfolio managers, we will take a similar approach with our offsetting approach – using diversification to manage risk. We will be working closely with The EQ Foundation partners Tythe, a charitable platform selecting the most impactful environmental charities, and givingisgreat.org.
- Through the EQ Foundation, we continue to support charities working on a just transition to a green economy. For Earth Day we are specifically supporting The Big Give – The Green Match Fund Campaign with matching donations.
- Secondly, we recognise that climate change carries significant risks and opportunities for the investments we manage on behalf of our clients. To reflect this, we committed to engage to reduce the carbon intensity of investment portfolios over time, measure this transparently and report on this to our clients across all portfolios we manage:
- We have implemented carbon intensity reporting to our client portal and rolling this out to all of our portfolio factsheets.
- We support the Make My Money Matter campaign that aims to move pension funds to align with a net zero world.
- We want to cater to specific client sustainability preferences. We offer sustainable and impact portfolios that don’t just have a lower footprint than market benchmarks, but importantly actively allocate to businesses providing solutions to the climate crisis, for example: renewable energy, clean transport and circular economy businesses.