Coutts sets ESG targets

Coutts – the wealth manager and private banking division of RBS – has set a target of reducing carbon emissions in its portfolio by 25 per cent by the end of 2021 and halving those in its overall holdings by 2030.

“Each and every one of us has the power to create change. And now, more than ever, is the time to do just that. Living our purpose – to champion potential, helping people, families and businesses to thrive – is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity, for all of society. We’ll all need to take action if we want a better future,” Commented Peter Flavel, CEO of the group.

The targets were issued in its annual Sustainability Report 2020, its first such report, that positioned the company as placing ESG considerations at the heart of its investment operations – rather than only providing ESG-related funds.

Working with firms such as like Sustainalytics, Coutts will be ‘scoring’ companies and investments on their ESG credentials or risks and using this to help decide future investments.

Howard Sparks, senior equity specialist, noted: “Getting a poor ESG score doesn’t necessarily prevent a company from reaching our portfolios, but it makes it much less likely.”

Coutts will now look closely at the areas of AI, plant-based meal substitutes, electrification, renewables and green bonds as potential high growth sectors for investment.

In addition to the targets, Coutts has also revealed that it has excluded four areas from its direct investment: thermal coal extraction, thermal coal energy generation, tar sand, and arctic oil and gas exploration.

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