Pension fund of the year: Brunel Pension Partnership

Channels: ESG

Companies: Brunel Pension Partnership, Barclays

The £30 billion ($38 billion) Brunel Pension Partnership was praised for its clear and broad climate policy, active engagement, and ongoing push for disclosure improvements.

Formed in 2017 from ten UK local government pension schemes, Brunel outlined a five-point plan in January to manage climate risk and use its influence to "challenge the asset manager industry," which it criticised as being "not fit for purpose" for addressing climate change.

To this end, Brunel engaged with more than 130 asset managers during 2019 as part of its selection process – assessing both the managers' own corporate sustainability considerations as well as their investment process.

Brunel has also been actively collaborating with the industry to enhance policymaking tools to assess climate risk.

Over the last year, the pension fund has advised the UK government-formed Pensions Climate Risk Industry Group on guidelines for pension scheme climate-related disclosures, co-chaired the European workstream of the Investor Advisory Group of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and actively engaged in the Investor Mining and Tailings Initiative calling for a transparent classification system of the world's tailings dams.

Brunel was also one of the 11 institutional investors that filed a shareholder resolution to Barclays in January, calling on the London-listed bank to phase out its financing for fossil fuel firms. The resolution eventually secured support from almost a quarter of shareholders.

Transparency has been a key theme for Brunel, with the pension fund having twice published in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, and encouraging others to adopt the framework to help assess the climate risks and opportunities posed by climate change. EF