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Pension Schemes Bill: Net Zero Carbon Emissions

Volume 682: debated on Monday 19 October 2020

What steps she is taking through the Pension Schemes Bill to support the Government’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. (907673)

As my hon. Friend knows, we want safer, better and greener pensions. This Government were the first in a G7 country to legislate for net zero by 2050. We lead the way on environmental regulation of pensions, and we are introducing transparency of climate-related financial disclosures in the Pension Schemes Bill that require schemes to take account of climate change goals, including net zero.

I thank the Minister for his response. Climate change is the single biggest threat not only to mankind, but to the planet. Does he agree with me that if we are to meet the climate change targets set out in the Paris agreement, more needs to be done to ensure that large financial institutions, including institutional investors such as pension funds, channel more investment into areas that do not actively harm our environment and contribute to climate change?

I agree with my hon. Friend. The Government are setting a regulatory framework and enabling pension funds to make sustainable investments happen, whether that is through the Bill itself or through our illiquid investments proposals, which will see renewables, hydrogen and potentially new nuclear. We do not believe in divestment, but we welcome the change in investment practice that is already beginning to take place, although we want to see more.

With David Attenborough urging pension funds to move away from fossil fuels, it is hugely welcome that the Government have joined Labour to incorporate in legislation, for the first time ever, climate change commitments on pension funds. Now we must translate our ambitions into action. Previously, the Minister has received positively our proposal for a pension fund summit. Will he now agree to work with us—across party and bringing together the world of pensions to save our planet—to organise a cross-party climate change summit, because this is the biggest form of investment potentially worldwide in climate change pension funds?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, we are already working with a large number of pension funds and also with companies. We all want to see a safer, better and greener pension system. I am happy to work with him on an ongoing basis, and I am happy to reach out on a collaborative basis on this particular issue, which matters to all of us.