Brunel Partnership wins Pension Fund of the Year at Sustainable Investment Awards

Faith Ward
Chief Responsible Investment Officer
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We are delighted to announce that the Brunel Pension Partnership has been awarded Environmental Finance’s Pension Fund of the Year award. This is in recognition of the successful efforts of ten committed institutions to take strong and effective leadership on responsible investment.

The award caps off a year of responsible investment milestones for the partnership, putting in to practice the policies and ambitions of more than 300 client stakeholders on a range of sustainability themes. Drawing on their guidance, Brunel has engaged with over 130 asset managers, reviewing over 530 investment strategies, ensuring that the pension funds are allocated in accordance with their priorities.

These policies were laid out in detail in the partnership’s climate policy published in January 2020, receiving widespread recognition for the level of ambition shown by our clients in addressing climate risk. This policy is already delivering real-world impacts, using its influence to challenge the asset management industry with a five-point plan “to build a financial system which is fit for a carbon-zero future”.

Implementing those ambitions is key and the Responsible Investment and Stewardship Outcomes report showed that all of Brunel’s active portfolios now have a carbon intensity at least 7% lower than their respective benchmarks and we are meeting our portfolio targets for gender diversity.

We embedded our long-term investing approach in manager relationships by creating the Brunel Asset Management Accord and several manager selection processes were launched throughout the year, including in private markets where a cornerstone $84 million commitment to the Neuberger Berman Private Equity Impact Fund was made on behalf of four of our LGPS Clients. We have received excellent feedback from managers about the quality of our selection processes, and the robustness of our investment and operational due diligence

Collaboration has been a key theme. Brunel continues to chair the Cross Pool Working Group on responsible investment, is an active member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and a key supporter of the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) and Climate Action 100+, which support the integration of carbon and climate risk into our due diligence and engagement. This year we joined the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare and the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative.

This award is recognition of the strength of these partnerships with our clients, asset managers, peers and company holdings. We look forward to another year of effective collaboration and further milestones on the journey as we continue our efforts to build a financial system fit for a low carbon future.

Brunel is also proud to also to have been jointly recognised with Chronos Sustainability for their efforts over the past calendar year in “Reconfiguring the investment system for the transition to a zero-carbon future”. This initiative resulted in the creation of a new climate change framework to enable Brunel, one of eight national Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Pools, which manages c.£30 billion investments on behalf of its clients, to deliver investment returns in a world where temperature rise was kept to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

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