Speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in October 2021, the UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, said that pension schemes could become a "superpower" in fighting climate change and propelling the world to net zero. But to what extent does the legal landscape within which pension schemes allow them to perform this role, and to what extent should they be performing this role?

In this article, we seek to answer those questions by way of a high-level comparative analysis of the extent to which the law in the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada currently promotes, or even permits, pension schemes to account for ESG factors by way of investment, stewardship and reporting. Our findings highlight significant differences in the extent to which these legal landscapes encourage and/or require pension schemes to engage with climate change.

This document was first published on 4 April 2022 in the 95th edition of International Pension Lawyer - Journal of the International Pensions & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association

Associate Elizabeth Harker co-authored this article.

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