Scottish Widows exceeds £1bn climate investment target two years early

Scottish Widows has exceeded its 2025 goal of investing more than £1 billion into climate-positive  projects two years early.

The financial services firm has already invested £1.3 billion into dedicated renewable energy, climate-resilient infrastructure and other nature-based solutions.

It has also invested £17.5 billion in ‘climate-aware’ projects — funds that have a bias towards investing in companies that are adapting their businesses to be less carbon-intensive and/or developing climate solutions. It aims to have invested £25 billion in these funds by 2025.

Elsewhere, the insurance company has tightened its approach towards investment managers making voting decisions that contradict its sustainability objectives, reportedly scheduling a meeting this autumn with its primary managers and asset owners to discuss voting records and highlight the need for stronger action.

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A key part of this is expected to include redirecting its focus on ‘climate and carbon’ to a broader ‘climate and environment’, putting greater responsibility on representatives to support measures that preserve and restore nature while advocating for climate-related solutions.

In addition to these changes, Scottish Widows adjusted its voting stance on human rights last year, expecting fund managers to endorse progressive resolutions relating to labour conditions and wages, both within the businesses they invest in and across their supply chains.

Scottish Widows has also issued a new report which highlights some significant votes cast during AGMs over the past year. Notably, these included decisions on disclosures related to plastics by the e-commerce giant Amazon and those regarding climate issues by fossil fuel giants such as Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell.

“While we have been pleased with the positive strides we have made with our investment managers over the last year, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure activity is aligned with our guidelines – particularly as our thematic priorities continue to evolve,” said Scottish Widows’ head of responsible investments and stewardship, Maria Nazarova-Doyle.

“If managers fail to act in line with our priority, which will always be the interests of our beneficiaries, we will have no choice but to take action.”

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