Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, Leeds, England, scored high marks in its first year as a PRI signatory and saw its carbon metrics decrease over the past year, according to its "Responsible Investment and Stewardship Report" and a report by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, released Thursday.
One of the U.K.'s largest public sector pension pools, the asset manager is owned by 11 local government pension funds, with combined assets of £55 billion ($76 billion). The pension funds are Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Durham, East Riding, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Surrey, South Yorkshire, Teesside, Tyne and Wear and Warwickshire.
The £24.7 billion ($34.3 billion) responsible investing portfolio covers public equities, fixed income and private markets.
Over the last year, it achieved A and A-plus scores in its first year as a signatory to the U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. It has also worked with Albourne Partners to raise ESG standards in private markets.
During the reporting year, its stewardship activity included 1,250 corporate engagement meetings, votes on more than 12,000 resolutions at 900 shareholder meetings and participation in 10 collaborative initiatives on sustainability.
The pool launched in 2018 was established with the belief that responsible investment "is fundamental to our collective success," Border to Coast CEO Rachel Elwell said in a news release accompanying the report.
"Despite our relative youth, with the support of our partner funds through our collective size and with effective engagement, we are already driving standards in ESG reporting and, as a long-term investor, we are making a difference in how companies act — and this will only increase in the years to come," Ms. Elwell said.
According to the companion report on Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures for 2020-2021, all Border to Coast investment funds are materially below their respective benchmarks for carbon intensity. For the investment-grade credit fund launched in April 2020, "there were big falls versus the benchmark," the report said.
Border to Coast sold its holdings in several big carbon emitters in its public equity and fixed-income portfolios, including oil and gas, utilities and airlines, because of the climate risk associated with companies in these sectors.
The pool introduced carbon screens for all equity and fixed-income funds and implemented a monitoring framework for external managers. It plans to publish a climate change policy later this year.