At the launch of the UKSIF (UK Sustainable Finance and Investment Association) biennial pensions report on Friday, the trade body will call on pension scheme sponsors and employers to help retirement funds support the UK stewardship Code.
The third Responsible Business: Sustainable Pension report, due for launch on Friday and hosted by the NAPF (National Association of Pension Funds), will show increasing efforts by schemes for responsible investment and ownership.
The proportion of respondents in the top two tier schemes have doubled to twenty five percent over the previous survey, while three schemes have achieved the highest platinum ranking – up from one.
However, the results do not sufficiently reflect the challenges to investors posed by the Stewardship Code, the Kay Review and other initiatives, said the UKSIF adding they also fail to capture the strong corporate awareness on the value of sustainable business approaches.
“(The) initiatives are shining a spotlight on the role of investors as stewards of the long-term health of companies. But a large number of corporate pension funds are still lagging behind the leading schemes in their approach to responsible ownership and investment,” said Penny Shepherd, chief executive of UKSIF.
“This is why we are calling on plan sponsors to assist and encourage their pension funds to deepen their responsible investment focus,” she added.
“Our report demonstrates heartening progress in the approach of leading corporate pension funds to responsible investment,” said Michael Deakin, chairman of UKSIF sustainable pensions advisory board.
“The significantly higher response rate this year is a very welcome demonstration of increased transparency by corporate funds,” he added.
The 2011 survey found the BT Pension Scheme, F&C Asset Management Pension Plan and Co-operative Group Pension Scheme achieving top grade for UKSIF’s responsible investing.
Responsible investment practice parameters were applied across a wide range of asset classes, including bonds, properties and private equity funds, and all showed strong growth in their use, the report observed.