Our journey to net zero

Tackling a deepening global crisis

As a global organisation working over generations and decades, rather than just years and months, we can use our scale to embed long-lasting reforms. Our active stewardship is already changing the environmental behaviour of hundreds of other corporations and as a responsible business we are also building our own journey to net zero.

We have a responsibility to support the fight against climate change as one of the UK’s top 40 companies and through our ownership of one of the largest global institutional investors. Our policy is to decarbonise the assets on our balance sheet to align with the UN Paris Agreement and UK Government legislation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have set carbon intensity targets and additional governance and control around the acquisition of high

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Avoiding climate catastrophe is our greatest global  priority. The debate about whether higher concentrations of greenhouse gasses cause global warming is long over. The science is clear and we can see the change with our own eyes. The focus now should be on what we do about it.

 

Nigel Wilson

We have set out four areas of investment risk related to climate change. 

• We will decarbonise the assets on our balance sheet to align with the Paris objective. We interpret the Paris objective as targeting 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.

• We advocate for urgent action to mitigate the climate emergency from both governments and the companies we are invested in.

• We will use our influence as a large investor to promote the transition to a low carbon economy.

• We support UK government legislation to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

We're making a number of other commitments to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050:

• From 2030, all homes built by our housing business will be capable of operating at net zero carbon emissions. In addition, we’re seeking to understand and monitor the embodied carbon associated with the construction of our homes.

• From 2030, our operational footprint (occupied offices and business travel) will operate with net zero carbon emissions.

• We will develop energy efficient commercial properties in our urban regeneration business and set science-based targets that are aligned with the Paris objective

Sustainable development goals

In 2015, 193 countries signed up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were established as a route map to delivering a sustainable global economy. The key outcome of the SDGs has been the increased allocation of investment capital to social objectives. At Legal & General we have aligned the SDGs with our three journeys. Our driver to address climate change and invest in the real economy is shown in our below priorities:

Affordable and clean energy

We invest long-term capital into the clean energy sector to accelerate progress towards a low-cost, low-carbon economy. We have invested £1.3 billion to date, including a £57 million financing agreement to support Hermes Infrastructure, who provides solar photovoltaic systems to more than 9,000 private residences and social housing rooftops. We’ve also purchased a 36% stake in the The Kensa Group, whose technology makes it possible to heat homes using ground-source heat pumps, and invested in Oxford PV to help commercialise a new generation of super-efficient solar panels.

Sustainable cities and communities

We are working on major regeneration schemes in towns and cities across the UK, to create opportunities and provide access to basic services and infrastructure for everyone. We have already invested £790 million into transformation schemes in towns and cities including Bath, Bristol, Bracknell, Swindon, Weston-Super-Mare, Cardiff and Sheffield. We're helping to support employment, with venture capital investments in over 770 companies, and a commitment to a £100 million regeneration project in Sunderland that will create 3,000 jobs and a £1.1 billion investment in Leeds that will create 13,000 jobs. We're also helping to put cities at the forefront of the knowledge economy, with investments including our £350 million collaboration with Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council to develop the Newcastle Helix. And, with millions of people in the UK on housing waiting lists or in temporary accommodation, we have invested £750 million into new affordable housing and plan to build 3,000 affordable homes every year, so even more people will have a place to call their own.

Climate actions

In 2019 alone, we invested £1.1 billion in renewable and alternative energy – in particular, solar and offshore wind power. We have already committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions from our housing portfolio by 2030, which is diversified across Build to Sell, Build to Rent, affordable and specialist housing, and we expect to have reached over 50,000 homes by the end of the decade. This year we are also running a Climate Change Hackathon, to identify ideas that could have a genuine impact and the teams that can bring them to life.

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