BT pension scheme aims for net zero carbon emissions in investments by 2035

FILE PHOTO: British Telecom (BT)'s headquarters is seen in central London, Britain May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The BT Pension Scheme said on Thursday it aimed to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its investment portfolio by 2035, aligning it with the goals of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.

The 55 billion pounds fund, Britain's biggest corporate pension scheme, invests on behalf of 300,000 current and former members of telecoms company BT Group BT.L.

While many companies and other investors are committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, by aligning with the Paris timeline, the BTPS plan is more ambitious.

BTPS said over time all of the investment mandates it awards to asset managers would be aligned with the goal and they would need to report progress to the scheme against a net zero climate scorecard.

In turn, the asset managers will need to engage with the companies they invest in on behalf of the BTPS to set their own net zero emissions objectives, and if not enough progress is made, the scheme said it could sell its stake.

“As the global economy looks for ways to recover from the impact of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to do things differently,” BTPS Management Chief Executive Morten Nilsson said in a statement.

“Over the next 15 years, the Scheme will be re-investing the majority of its assets and, as we look to deliver the best returns, we must not waste this opportunity to support a cleaner and greener future.”

Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Tom Arnold and Jane Merriman