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Pensions insurance company to go net zero

Pensions insurance company to go net zero
Photo: Jacob Colvin via Pexels

Rothesay Life, one of the largest pension insurance companies in the UK, has signed a carbon dioxide removal agreement that will see its operations move to net zero within eight years.

The company, which manages more than £60bn in assets, securing pensions for more than 800,000 Britons, will use Climework's CO2 removal service to make the insurer’s own operations net zero by 2030.

This means that, by that point, it will have captured enough carbon to cover Rothesay's operations throughout the whole decade, from 2020 to 2030.

According to Rothesay, as long-term investors, insurance companies are in a unique position to take climate action, helping to scale important climate solutions and manage the impact of climate change.

One such solution is high-quality carbon removal, which must be an essential component of net zero roadmaps in addition to emissions reduction efforts.

David Land, Rothesay’s head of investment strategy and chairperson of its Climate Change Working Group, said long-term agreements, such as this 10-year one, are crucial to help scale the market for carbon removal as it gives both sides planning security.

He said: "As part of our pathway to net zero, we have conducted rigorous due diligence on our carbon removal options and have chosen Climeworks because its ground-breaking technology allows us to measurably neutralise the environmental impact of our operations."

Powered by renewable energy, Climeworks’ direct air capture plants pick up CO2 from the air.

In its 'Orca' storage plant in Iceland, Climeworks’ storage partner Carbfix mixes the CO2 with water and pumps it deep underground, where it reacts with the basaltic rock formations and mineralises.

This means the CO2 turns into stone and is, therefore, permanently removed.

In addition to the collaboration with Climeworks, Rothesay has also worked with Natural Capital Partners to verify both its direct emissions and purchase sufficient carbon offset credits, verified by Gold Standard and VERRA, to more than compensate for its historic direct emissions from the year 2020.

In recognition of this, the insurer received CarbonNeutral company certification in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, a service of Natural Capital Partners, for the year 2020.

Earlier this year (January), Utmost Group plc signed up to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

At the time, Paul Thompson, chief executive of the Utmost Group, said: “We are proud to be a signatory to the PRI. We believe that responsible investing has a huge role to play in building a sustainable future for current and future generations.

"The group is committed to taking a proactive approach to sustainable investing and we will continue to embed it across our business – in our strategy, in our investments and in our ongoing stewardship.

"The work of the PRI supports our mission by actively contributing to developing a more sustainable global financial system.”

simoney.kyriakou@ft.com