ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Church Commissioners – the statutory investment body responsible for historic assets of the Church of England – has won three major prizes at the Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) Awards for its ethical and responsible investment work. The awards – for Climate Related Risk Management; Environment, Social and Governance; and Real Estate – come on top of the two awards the Commissioners won in April at the Portfolio Institutional Awards. But it did not take the top award of Best European Pension Fund, for which it was shortlisted.
“We are thrilled with these awards,” the Commissioners’ head of responsible investment, Edward Mason, said. “They reflect our commitment to responsible investment, good governance and acting on climate change. There is still much work to be done, and of course in the long term the prize that really matters is meeting the two degree target agreed in Paris last year.
The Church Commissioners launched a comprehensive climate policy last year ahead of the COP21 climate change conference in Paris. That was one of the things recognised by the judges, along with its “pivotal focus” on shareholder resolutions and engagement; and ensuring the reduction of the portfolio’s carbon footprint through investment and divestment strategy. This lead to what the C of E said was “a near perfect score of 19.75 points out of a possible 20 for Climate Related Risk Management.”
The Commissioners hit the headlines this year after it garnered substantial support for a shareholder motion on climate change at ExxonMobil’s AGM.
The IPE Awards are presented at Europe’s largest annual gathering of pension funds and service providers. The Church Commissioners manage a £7 billion investment fund for the Church of England. Last year it distributed funds of £218.5 million, making it the third largest charitable giver in the UK; and the 14th largest internationally.