Major investment consultants set up net-zero project

Sep 21, 2021
PRI-backed initiative follows similar groups for asset owners and managers

A group of major investment consultants have set up a project to encourage clients to set net-zero emissions goals.

The 12 firms, which collectively advise on assets of more than $10 tn, have launched the Net Zero Investment Consultants Initiative (NZICI) with the backing of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The firms have pledged to incorporate advice on reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 into all their consulting services within two years.

They also commit to supporting the goal of a 50 percent reduction in global emissions by 2030, monitoring asset managers on the integration of climate risks and opportunities, and internally setting their own emissions reduction targets.

Investment consultants offer advice to investors such as pension funds, foundations, family offices and sovereign wealth funds, helping them to decide where to allocate funds and which investment firms to work with. 

The launch of the NZICI follows the creation of similar PRI-backed groups the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance and the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative.

Institutional investor pressure has played a key role in pushing companies to adopt net-zero emissions goals. Over recent years, hundreds of companies have pledged to reach net-zero by 2050, including many of the world’s largest emitters.

‘We believe global investment consultants, working closely with our asset owner clients, have a vital part to play in the transition toward a resilient net-zero economy and we are committed as a firm to making a difference,’ says David Vafai, CEO at bfinance, in a statement.

‘This initiative is an important milestone for us: we are making some significant changes to policies and processes as we look to deliver on commitments. Several of our clients are already very advanced in addressing issues such as portfolio carbon intensity, temperature alignment and investment opportunities relating to the energy transition.’

In a separate announcement this week, the Climate Pledge, an initiative where companies commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, announced a further 86 new signatories, bringing the total number to 201.

The new companies to sign up include Nespresso, ASOS, Procter & Gamble, HP and Salesforce, according to a statement by the project.

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