Aligning pension funds and corporate climate ambitions


29 Jun 2021


8:30 am - 9:30 am

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Event details:

More and more businesses are setting out climate strategies but have their boards considered where their pension fund investments fit in?

Where pension funds are invested is increasingly becoming a major concern for businesses, employees and their stakeholders. This event for non-executive directors and pension trustees will explore how pension schemes can align with a business’s climate goals. If this is something that you haven’t yet discussed in your boardroom, now is the time to start having informed conversations.

Earlier this year the UK’s Pension Schemes Act received Royal Assent, paving the way for fundamental change to the UK pensions landscape. The Government is aiming to ensure the pensions industry has a part to play in the UK’s transition to a net zero future. The Act introduced new requirements for governance and disclosure in relation to climate change risk and opportunities.

But what does this mean in practice?

During this event we will discuss:
– The new requirements under the Pension Schemes Act and the practicalities of meeting them
– Opportunities for collaboration between non-executive directors and pension trustees to embed climate disclosure within pension schemes, aligning with the climate goals of businesses
– Different options for raising awareness on this topic.

There will be a panel discussion followed by a Q&A session.

We are running the event in partnership with the Centre for Climate Engagement, Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge, as part of London Climate Action Week (LCAW). LCAW is the largest independent climate change event in Europe and brings together world-leading climate professionals to find practical solutions to climate change.

In order to get the most out of the discussion, we encourage you to read the following briefing note, prepared by the Centre for Climate Engagement, before the event:
Event pre-read: UK Pension Schemes Act 2021 – new regulations to enhance climate disclosure


Moderated by: Emily Farnworth, Co-Director at the Centre for Climate Engagement, Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge

Russell Picot, Chair of the Trustee board of the HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Fund

Bethan Livesey, Director of Policy at ShareAction

Mark AustinChair of UK Northern Trust Pension Scheme 

Robert Jennings, Chair of Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund; Board of Chapter Zero

Speakers’ biographies:

Emily FarnworthCo-Director at Centre for Climate Change Engagement Hughes Hall University of Cambridge
Emily is the Co-Director of the Centre for Climate Change Engagement at the University of Cambridge. She was previously Global Director, Low Carbon Economy Transition at Environmental Resources Management.
Prior to this Emily was the Head of Climate Initiatives at the World Economic Forum where she was involved in setting up the Climate Governance Initiative, the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders the Mission Possible Platform and the Natural Climate Solutions Alliance. She also Chairs the Advisory Committee of RE100 – an initiative that drives demand for renewable power.
Emily has over 25 years of experience working with businesses, government, and non-profit organisations to support the transition to a low-carbon economy. She has worked across multi-stakeholder groups and within specific industry sectors to collaborate on solutions to tackle climate change. She has led research, campaigns and communications strategies aimed at creating systemic change in the way businesses mange climate risk and decarbonize operations. 

Russell PicotChair of the Trustee board of the HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Fund
Russell is Chair of the Trustee board of the HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Fund and a Trustee of USS. He is a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership and an Honorary Professor at Durham University Business School. Russell is also a Special Advisor to the Financial Stability Board’s Climate-related Financial Disclosures Task Force. 


Bethan Livesey, Director of Policy at ShareAction
Bethan is Director of Policy at ShareActionShareAction is an NGO that advocates for change in the investment system using research and rankings, campaigns with allies to strengthen investor stewardship and change corporate behaviour and pushes for public policy reform to transform the financial system. Bethan oversees the organisation’s public policy work in the UK and Brussels. She originally trained and practised as a solicitor and worked in commercial litigation in the City before switching to a career in public policy. Bethan has also spent time working on pensions policy and climate change at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mark Austin, Chair of Northern Trust Pension Scheme
Mark is Head of Institutional Clients at Northern Trust in the UK primarily serving the Defined Benefit pension community, he is also Chair of the Northern Trust UK pension scheme, a medium sized hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution scheme and a director of Northern trust Fund Services Ireland an Irish ManCo.
Prior to working at Northern Trust Mark worked for JP Morgan in a similar capacity.
Mark represents Northern Trust on several pension and savings industry bodies including the Defined Contribution Investment Forum and The Investing and Savings Alliance.

Robert Jennings, Chair of Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund, Board of Chapter Zero
Robert is Chair of Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Limited and on the board of 3i Infrastructure. He is also on the board of Chapter Zero.
He has served on the board of Crossrail as an independent non-executive director, as the Department for Transport’s representative. He was previously on the board of Southern Water and was its Chair from 2014 to 2017.
Robert started his career as a Charted Accountant and worked in corporate finance for UBS, specialising in Transport Infrastructure. He has worked at HM Treasury on special assignments relating to the UK rail industry.


Chapter Zero

Event contact

Chapter Zero

Event collaborators

Centre for Climate Engagement, Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge
Centre for Climate Engagement, Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge
London Climate Action Week
London Climate Action Week