New partnership calls on government to harness the power of finance sector to drive Net Zero transition

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Insurance company Aviva has announced a new climate-focused partnership with WWF, which will focus on shifting the financial sector to Net Zero.

The conservation charity 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.

Amanda Blanc, Aviva Group Chief Executive Officer, commented on the announcement: “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.”

In a new joint policy paper, titled ‘Transition Plans for a Net Zero Future’ Aviva and WWF 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.

Tanya Steele, WWF-UK Chief Executive, added: “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.”

Over the next three years Aviva 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.

The ‘Transition Plans for a Net Zero Future’-policy paper can be downloaded from the Aviva website.