Montreal carbon footprint pledge attracts extra $162bn of signatories in first week

Heavyweight investors back declaration launched at PRI in Person

The ‘Montreal Carbon Pledge’ launched at the PRI in Person event last week, committing investors to measuring and disclosing the carbon footprint of their portfolios annually, has attracted a further $161.7bn (€128bn) in combined assets in just seven days as heavyweight investors such as Swedish AP funds and France’s state reserve pension fund have come on board.

The declaration’s initial signatories included PGGM Investments, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), France’s ERAFP, Bâtirente, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the UK’s Environment Agency Pension Fund, Calvert Investments and Nordea.

It allows investors to formalize their commitment to the new Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition, co-founded by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI).

All told, the first group of signatories have more than $500bn in combined assets under management. Overseen by the Principles for Responsible Investment, the Montreal Carbon Pledge aims to attract $1trn of portfolio commitment in time for the crunch UN Climate Change Conference in Paris next year.

That target is looking increasingly achievable as six further investors signed up over the week – taking the total number of signatories to 14.They include Swedish state funds Första AP-fonden (AP1), Tredje AP-fonden (AP3) and Fjärde AP-fonden (AP4) and French reserve fund the Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR). Asset management firms Mirova, the responsible investment arm of Natixis, and Ownership Capital, a spin-off firm from PGGM, have also signed up.

AP4 and the FRR last month seeded an innovative family of low carbon indexes launched by MSCI.

Elsewhere, the Canberra-based Australian National University says it has agreed to a proposal by Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young to divest stocks in seven ASX-listed extractives companies following an independent review of its domestic equities.

The review, commissioned by the research university as part of its SRI policy, was undertaken by ESG consulting firm CAER. It means it will divest its holdings of Iluka Resources, Independence Group, Newcrest Mining, Sandfire Resources, Oil Search, Santos and Sirius Resources. The University, which has a total asset value put at A$2.75bn (€1.9bn), will also move to an outsourced management of domestic equities using an enhanced index manager, who will be assessed on its ability to meet the university’s SRI requirements.