New UK workplace pension giant to use ESG research from EIRIS

NEST also backs Stewardship Code and UKSIF

EIRIS, the not-for profit environmental, social and governance (ESG) research provider, has been awarded the contract to deliver ESG data to new UK workplace pension scheme NEST, the National Employment Savings Trust.

NEST, a defined contribution scheme that has the potential to become one of the largest asset owners in Europe, said it has also signed up to the Financial Reporting Council’s Stewardship Code, which sets out guidance on engagement between investors and companies. In addition, NEST has also become an affiliate of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF).

It said the developments would help its commitment to act as a responsible owner of assets on behalf of its members. “Adhering to the FRC Code will involve NEST exercising its voting rights and actively engaging with its investee companies with the aim of reducing risk and improving long-term returns for members.”

The EIRIS data would give NEST “a richer understanding of the ESG risks and opportunities” in its assets. EIRIS would be used for monitoring underlying portfolios and informing voting and engagement activities.It follows a busy period for EIRIS, which is set to replace the internal socially responsible investment (SRI) team at asset manager Henderson Global Investors. And earlier this month, the Mexican stock exchange, the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores, launched its new sustainability index in partnership with EIRIS and its local partner Ecovalores.

NEST, which has already signed up to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, said: “We firmly believe that environmental, social and governance issues should be factored into investment processes in order to act in the best financial interests of our members.

“We believe ESG issues should be factored into investment processes”

“Our research points to responsible investment providing long-term value, reducing risk and contributing towards better member outcomes.”

It said it would exercise its voting rights in an informed manner via its fund managers and actively engage with its investee companies to meet and exceed the Stewardship Code and the PRI.