The USS Ltd board has ultimate responsibility for addressing all issues relevant to the scheme, and this includes the oversight and management of climate change related risks and opportunities. The USS Ltd Board has supported the schemes’ activities associated with addressing climate change risk and opportunities since 2001, when the scheme did its first work assessing the implications of the issue for institutional investors.
The board agrees the RI strategy, and formally reviews the RI team’s activities annually. The trustee directors sign off key focus areas and policies, including the fund’s on-going activities relating to climate change. In addition to this annual reporting cycle, the board receives other input on ESG management, including climate change, as and when necessary. It also receives regular updates on the climate change related activities that the scheme’s executive are involved in. In addition, the USS board has received training on climate change as part of its training on responsible investment
The trustee board delegates responsibility for day to day management of the scheme to the group executive. The investment committee, a committee of the board, takes the lead in oversight of the executive’s management of climate change and other ESG related issues.
USS is unlike the majority of pension funds in that it has an in-house asset manager, USS Investment Management, which manages the majority of the scheme’s assets. USSIM provides investment advice and management activities for USS, which includes advice on climate change and other ESG / RI issues.
Unlike the vast majority of Assets Owners, USS demonstrates and resources its commitment to RI and addressing issue like climate change through the employment of in house Responsible Investment experts. USS Investment Management has an RI team of six, and also employs a separate Sustainability Manager for the scheme's property portfolio and other Private Market Group assets. Having this internal resource means that expertise on the investment implications of climate change is readily available to both trustees and the executive, and the RI team provides input to the trustee board on ESG issues, including climate change, as and when required.
Day to day oversight and management of the scheme's climate strategy rests with the RI team. The team works with the internal asset managers to ensure integration of climate change and other ESG risks into investment decision making across asset classes. The RI team leads much of the stewardship activity associated with encouraging both listed companies and other assets to manage better climate change related risks.
Whilst the USS Investment Management CIO / CEO has ultimate responsibility for climate change related activities, the oversight of the RI function is via the Head of Equities, a member of USS Investment Management’s executive committee.
Details of the RI team’s activities, including actions associated with climate change, can be found here: https://www.uss.co.uk/how-uss-invests/responsible-investment.