Amanda Blanc says the collaboration will ’ensure the financial sector gets its act together’ around working towards net zero

Aviva has partnered with conservation charity the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to help shift the financial sector towards net zero.

The two organisations are calling on the UK government to mandate for UK regulated financial institutions to develop credible transition plans that align with carbon emission reduction goals, as well as the 1.5-degree Celsius target of the Paris Agreement.

Furthermore, the collaboration will see Aviva become the charity’s lead partner on pensions and insurance.

In a new joint policy paper published today (18 June 2021) – Transition Plans for a Net Zero Future – the businesses have set out five recommendations for how the UK government can demonstrate further leadership around achieving net zero within the financial services sector.

The five recommendations are:

1. The UK government should mandate for UK regulated institutions to develop credible transition plans that align with net zero targets and the Paris Agreement goal from 2023.

2. As an interim measure, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), the Treasury should recommend that regulators require UK financial institutions to start producing net zero and 1.5-degree Celsius 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, as well as signalling the steps and timescales in 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.

Amanda Blanc, Aviva group chief executive, said the world is currently living “in the midst of a climate emergency”, and as a leading insurer, Aviva has got a “big responsibility to do something about it”.

She continued: “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.”

Last month, WWF and Greenpeace UK revealed that UK banks and asset managers were responsible for financing 805m tonnes of CO2 in 2019, suggesting that finance is one of the nation’s biggest contributors to climate change.

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 [hitting] the Paris Agreement targets of limiting global warming to 1.5-degree Celsius.

“But, as we look to build a greener, stable planet with a sustainable economy, the [financial services] 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, the insurer will be working with WWF to help communities in the UK and Canada build healthier and more resilient ecosystems to reduce the risk of natural disasters, such as flooding.