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The ESG Toolkit for Pension Chairs and Trustees

This toolkit supports chairs and trustees of pension schemes identify the 'why' and 'how' to embed sustainability considerations into their investment and strategic decision-making processes. Written specifically for trustees, the guidance, case studies and maturity map aid discussions with fellow trustees, advisers and fund managers on ensuring their investment decisions align with acting in the best interest of their beneficiaries.

The pensions industry is in both a position of vulnerability and power, being highly exposed to the risks of an unsustainable future and in a strong place to influence more sustainable outcomes.

Considering the risks and opportunities of environmental, social and governance factors as part of the investment process of a pension scheme is essential for effective risk management, innovation and financial prudence. It speaks to the heart of fiduciary duty and helps address the diverse demands of beneficiaries which, in turn, can lead to better engagement with their pension and, where relevant, their employer.

The Toolkit

Embedding sustainability considerations into investment decisions

Considering sustainability-related risks and opportunities is essential for effective risk management, innovation and return on investment. Explore our resources for trustees on integrating sustainability considerations into investment allocation decisions.

Engagement along the investment chain

Pension chairs and trustees are in a powerful position to influence the investment chain. These resources equip trustees for discussions with members, sponsors, advisers, fund managers and investee companies on sustainability-related issues.

Reporting and disclosure

Pension trustees are obligated to report and disclose on how they oversee sustainability risks within their scheme. Click here to learn more about TCFD and current approaches to sustainability reporting.

To find out more about the toolkit and how it can be used, please take a look at this presentation.

The toolkit is a ‘live’ document, meaning we will be continually adding new resources and best practice stories to it. If you have a great example demonstrating practical steps that trustees can take, then please email info@a4s.org.


“A4S’s ESG Maturity Map helps put the trustees back in control of the agenda. It enabled me and my peer trustees to challenge and probe further into previous statements and responses from our investment consultants."

Marcus Hurd, Professional Trustee, ndapt

We used the A4S Maturity Map in a Climate Training session with our Board. It was extremely useful to give the Trustees a picture of where we were, vis-à-vis other schemes, and where we might aspire to be across different parameters. It provided a good framework to prompt a thought-provoking discussion around our status, our goals and our specific areas of focus when it comes to climate risk.”

Catherine Claydon, Chair of BBC Pension Scheme and Vice-Chair of A4S's Asset Owners Network

“It is often hard to navigate through the plethora of information to pick out the key practical steps that pension scheme trustees should take to integrate ESG considerations into their investment strategy and processes. A4S’s ESG Toolkit for Pension Chairs and Trustees has been specifically written for trustees in mind, to help them with this challenge and support our discussions with fellow trustees and our members”

Russell Picot, Chair of the HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Scheme and Chair of A4S’s Asset Owners Network

“The impacts of climate change on infrastructure, like floods and subsidence, create risks for investors. Portfolio managers need to quantify and plan for physical risk to achieve steady long-term returns, but, in the short-term, this work will also connect your pension funds with the public who increasingly demand action on the climate emergency. A4S’s ESG Toolkit for Pension Chairs and Trustees will help you navigate through a changing landscape.”

Emma Howard Boyd, Former Chair of the Environment Agency

Accounting for Sustainability is a Charitable Incorporated Organization, registered charity number 1195467. Accounting for Sustainability is part of the King Charles III Charitable Fund Group of Charities.
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