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Aviva Investors Hears The Scottish Moors Calling

Scott Evans

Aviva Investors, the asset management unit of major global insurer Aviva, recently announced its plans to undertake extensive peatland restoration, carbon capture and woodland creation work in North-East Scotland.

Photo Courtesy Par Equity News

The project, which follows Aviva Investors’ acquisition of 6,300 hectares of moorland, aims at capturing 1.4 million metric tons of carbon. Aviva Investors partnered with Par Equity, a Scottish forestry investment fund manager, to create an investment vehicle for this purpose. The design, implementation, and management of it will be done by Scottish Woodlands, one of the UK’s major forestry management firms. The time span of the project is expected to be five years.

Not only will the initiative help to meet the country’s forestry planting goals, but it should also provide significant employment opportunities. It is part of a wider effort to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across all of Aviva Investors’ real assets by 2040.

The Real Assets portfolio consists of £47.3 billion ($64.1 billion USD) in new and existing real estate and infrastructure. It also includes private debt, which has traditionally been difficult to bring in alignment with Environmental, Social and Governance goals.

To measure the success of its transition to carbon-neutral, Aviva Investors has set a series of short-term goals that it expects to deliver on by 2025. These include investing in low-carbon and renewable energy infrastructure and buildings, increasing their generation capacity, issuing climate-transition loans, creating at least half of new combined strategies with impact labels, and cutting real estate and energy carbon intensity by 30% and 10%, respectively.

“The climate crisis is the single largest risk facing our society and economy, but it also represents a great opportunity,” said Mark Versey, chief executive officer at Aviva Investors.

“The real assets sector wields a great deal of investment influence and firepower and must quickly move on from high-level pledges to demonstrate meaningful action.”

Photo Courtesy Matt Palmer

Aviva is a major global insurer and has set a goal to become net-zero carbon by 2040. To that effect, it seeks to reduce 25% of its investments’ carbon intensity by 2025 and 60% by 2030. 

This would place it ahead of the 50% reduction as defined by the Paris Agreement. It also aims at having net-zero carbon emissions from its own operations and supply chains by 2030.

Aviva is one of the founding members of the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA). NZIA counts fifteen of the world’s leading insurers and reinsurers among its members, including AXA, Allianz, Generali, Munich Re, Zurich, SCOR, and Swiss Re. The members have committed individually to transition their underwriting portfolios to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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