Slowing climate change and mitigating its effects will be the defining issue of our generation

A recent United Nations report shows that climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying and some trends are now irreversible, at least during the present time frame.

Inaction is not an option. We support global efforts to limit carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and under our Climate Impact Pledge, we commit to helping companies reach this objective.

Climate change carries risks to investments. Not only can extreme weather events like floods and fires affect companies’ profits, but high-polluting industries are facing increased competition from cleaner, cheaper energy sources. As investors, we are in a powerful position to effect change and make sure that the companies we invest in are contributing to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Solar panel site in bright blue sky beside lake and trees

What is net zero by 2050?

Successfully limiting climate change means that we need to emit no more planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the earth can absorb – this balancing point is known as net zero emissions.

This simply means that the things that absorb carbon in our natural world – trees, soil, oceans and new technologies for carbon capture – need to match the things that emit carbon (industry, agriculture, energy and other activities).

Governments around the world, including the UK’s, made commitments to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius under the 2015 Paris Accord. As part of this commitment, we’re working with the companies in which we invest on your behalf to reduce emissions, with the aim of making your retirement savings invested by Legal & General net zero by 2050. We’re setting out a series of targets to ensure we’re on track to achieve this. Your money is invested in building a future where we’ll all want to live and we and the natural world around us can flourish.

Polar bear on melting ice floe

Climate Impact Pledge

Our Climate Impact Pledge underpins the way we invest. We score the companies that we invest in on your behalf so we can track which are actively committed to working towards reducing carbon emissions.

We are optimistic that progress is being made, but if companies show signs of inaction, we will vote against them. As a tool of last resort, we will remove our investments in such companies from some of our funds.

In 2021 we saw the following results:

  • BP committing to substantial production cuts this decade as part of its strategy towards net zero
  • Ford and Honda announcing net-zero by 2050 targets, and General Motors committing to carbon neutrality by 2040
  • JPMorgan announcing plans to align its financing of three sectors with the goals of the Paris Agreement
  • We removed our investment from four companies for failing to respond satisfactorily to our engagement efforts and will vote against 13 more
  • 130 companies are currently subject to voting sanctions for not meeting our minimum climate change standards
Industrial skyline at dusk

Why is this relevant to my retirement savings?

We offer a range of investment choices that includes funds that actively support our goals for reaching net zero by 2050. In early 2021, Legal & General Workplace Pensions and the Legal & General Mastertrust set out a roadmap to net zero for all auto-enrolment default options.