Russell Investments Commits to Carbon-Neutral Portfolios by 2050

Outsourced CIO provider with $326.9 billion in AUM joins Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative.

Russell Investments, an outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) provider and investment firm, has joined the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, a group of 87 international asset managers overseeing $37 trillion in assets that is committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner.

The company said it is committed to working with its clients on goals consistent with reaching net-zero emissions within 30 years or earlier for all of its assets under management (AUM).

“Russell Investments is focused on constructing investment portfolios that generate long-term sustainable value, and climate change will likely have a material impact on investment outcomes in the coming years,” Michelle Seitz, chairman and CEO of Russell Investments, said in a statement. “We will work to evolve our investment approach and take the necessary steps to achieve this net-zero goal while continuing to deliver on our fiduciary obligations to clients.”

Russell Investments, which has $326.9 billion in AUM and $2.5 trillion in assets under advisement (AUA), said it is adding positions to its responsible investing team and establishing a global task force to develop a net-zero emissions transition plan. The plan will set interim targets and build on established practices, such as the firm’s manager research process, which includes environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores for managers.

The task force will also focus on the firm’s active ownership program with environmental stewardship and climate risk reporting as the main focus of its engagement. Additionally, task force members will collaborate with other companies aligned with the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative to help develop best practice frameworks.

“Sustainability risks are already a consideration in our investment practice, including manager research and selection, portfolio management, proxy voting, and shareholder engagement,” said Jihan Diolosa, Russell Investments’ head of responsible investing. “We realize there isn’t an overnight solution to climate change, but we are working diligently to make a difference.”

Russell Investments has been a member of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) since 2009 and publishes research on responsible investing, including an annual ESG survey of active investment managers. In addition to committing to net-zero carbon emissions for investment portfolios, the firm said it will set a similar goal for its own business operations.

“We will hold ourselves to the same standard as the companies we invest in by committing our global business operations to be carbon-neutral by the end of this decade,” Seitz said.

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