Aviva joins forces with WWF to lead the financial sector fight against climate change

We’re proud to announce a new climate-focused partnership with one of the world’s leading conservation charities, WWF, which will focus on shifting the financial sector to Net Zero. WWF and Aviva are jointly calling on the UK government to mandate UK regulated financial institutions to develop credible transition plans that align with Net Zero and the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.  Without this shift the UK will not be able to meet its Net Zero target or global climate commitments to the Paris Agreement.

In a new joint policy paper published today, titled ‘Transition Plans for a Net Zero Future’ we will set out five recommendations for how the UK government can demonstrate further leadership on green finance and harness the power of the finance sector to drive the transition to Net Zero.

1.       The UK government should mandate UK regulated financial institutions to develop credible transition plans that align with Net Zero and the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement from 2023.

2.       As an interim measure, ahead of COP26 the Treasury should recommend that regulators require regulated UK financial institutions to start producing Net Zero 1.5°C aligned transition plans by the end of 2022. 

3.       The UK Government should bring together regulators, industry and civil society to develop guidance on the most appropriate metrics, methodologies and specifications for transition plans.

4.       The UK government should create a clear policy framework to drive Net Zero across the real economy, signalling the steps and timescales by which they will be met. 

5.       In parallel, the UK should use its role in the G7, G20 and other multilateral platforms to encourage other major economies to mandate transition plans globally.

The new collaboration will see us become WWF’s lead partner on pensions and insurance, building on our announcement earlier this year to target Net Zero carbon by 2040, the first major insurer worldwide to do so. Our climate plan informs every aspect of our operations and investment decisions and is part of our strategy to be the UK’s leading insurer, contributing to a sustainable economic recovery. 

Last month, WWF and Greenpeace UK revealed that UK banks and asset managers were responsible for financing 805 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019 – 1.8 times the UK’s annual net emissions that year. The research points towards finance as one of the UK’s biggest contributors to climate change and supports calls for regulation to be introduced across the sector to bring it into line with Paris Agreement targets.

Amanda Blanc, Aviva Group Chief Executive Officer said:

“We’re living in the midst of a climate emergency and, as the U.K.’s leading insurer, we’ve got a big responsibility to do something about it. Our new partnership with WWF will help us tackle the causes of climate change and help our customers and communities cope better with the consequences. We will campaign with WWF to ensure the financial sector gets its act together and makes a more significant contribution to a sustainable planet. WWF has a huge amount of expertise and influence in this area, and I’m excited about what we’ll be able to achieve together to help lead the financial services industry to contribute more to a low-carbon future.”

Tanya Steele, WWF-UK Chief Executive, said:

“We know that the finance sector has a staggering climate footprint, and that simply has to change if we are to stand a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement targets of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. But as we look to build a greener, stable planet with a sustainable economy, the sector can also be a force for positive change. Aviva is already a climate-leader in the industry and demonstrates the enormous potential for our pensions and insurance in helping to tackle the environmental crisis. Together, we hope to inspire other financial institutions along this journey and to jointly call for ambitious government reform of the sector in the run-up to COP26."

The partnership with WWF spans our core markets. Over the next three years we will be working with WWF to help communities in the UK and Canada build healthier and more resilient ecosystems that help reduce the risk of climate-related natural disasters such as flooding. For example in Canada, Aviva will support WWF-Canada’s Nature and Climate Grant Program, which helps communities restore degraded lands and shorelines in order to improve habitats and capture carbon through nature based solutions. We will also be engaging millions of consumers to increase awareness about the power of their choices, for example how they invest their pensions, which can contribute to a more sustainable future.

We’re confident that we can work with you to protect your clients against the impacts of climate change by educating them on how to invest responsibly. We recognise the importance of offering a range of responsible investments to help you help your clients create a better future and currently have over 180 ethically managed funds from a wide range of fund managers. You can find these by using the advanced filters within our fund centre, this includes the Stewardship UK Equity Fund, the UK’s first ethical fund of its kind.