March 27, 2020, New York: Today, The B Team announced that Hiro Mizuno, CIO of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), and Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO of PensionDanmark, will join its growing group of global business and civil society leaders working to create new norms of corporate leadership.
Both Mr. Mizuno and Mr. Pedersen join The B Team from two of the world’s leading pension funds. Mr. Mizuno stepped into his role as CIO at the GPIF, the largest pension fund in the world, in 2015. At the time, Japan was seen as a laggard on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. Under Mr. Mizuno’s leadership, the GPIF has pioneered a new path forward that keeps ESG criteria at the very center of each step of its investment process.
Of its $1.5 trillion under management, the GPIF has invested at least $32.8 billion in ESG-centric funds. The GPIF requires its asset managers to include ESG principles in investment analysis and decisions. In addition, its portfolio managers work with companies they invest in to encourage sustainable practices. Taking its commitment to ESG even further, the GPIF announced in December 2019 that it would stop stock lending to short sellers. And, earlier this month, it joined forces with fellow asset owners Calstrs and USS to call on the asset managers they use to uphold ESG standards and act in the interests of all stakeholders—not just shareholders.
For Mr. Mizuno, shifting these practices is part of his fiduciary duty. “It’s the mutual responsibilities of investors and corporates to promote long-term sustainable economic growth. Investors must accelerate business transformation for a sustainable and inclusive society,” Mr. Mizuno said, “B Team Leaders understand our responsibilities and more importantly know how to do it profitably.”
Mr. Pedersen has served as CEO of PensionDanmark, a labor market pension fund, since its founding in 1992. Under his leadership, PensionDanmark has become one of Denmark’s largest pension funds—serving 752,500 members and managing €35 billion in assets and growing. With Mr. Pedersen at the helm, PensionDanmark has pivoted its investment strategy toward renewable energy infrastructure and sustainable real estate and has committed to doubling these investments over the next decade.
PensionDanmark’s commitment to climate action extends beyond its own investments. Mr. Pedersen chairs the Danish government’s recently-formed partnership with Denmark’s finance sector to help fund a just transition toward a clean energy economy in-line the country’s climate targets. In September 2019, PensionDanmark joined leading international investors to form the Net-Zero Asset Owners Alliance—committing to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions portfolio by 2050 and to working with its portfolio companies to help them achieve this target. To bolster these efforts, PensionDanmark has also endorsed the UN Global Compact’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign.
Mr. Pedersen sees these efforts as fundamental to his influence as an asset owner. “I am delighted to join The B Team. The mission of creating a more sustainable and inclusive world is as important as ever and there is huge responsibility for those with power to help facilitate a change. The boldness of The B Team stands out in the endeavor to realize the green transition and combat growing inequalities across the globe,” Mr. Pedersen said, “We need to put ourselves and our businesses on the frontline to be successful even though it means changing the way we operate. Social responsibility is at the heart of PensionDanmark’s DNA. We want to be a part of the solution of the challenges facing society while at the same time supporting our members with a financially secure retirement. It corresponds very well with the hard work from The B Team and I want to contribute to make this effort even stronger.”
“As the world faces increasing uncertainty and distress, building an inclusive economy is more important than ever. And we won’t get there without transforming how we invest. Recognizing this imperative, Mr. Mizuno and Mr. Pedersen are raising the bar on what it means to be a responsible asset owner today,” CEO (2009-2018) of Unilever and Chair of The B Team, Paul Polman, said, “With them on board, we look forward to furthering these norms across the finance sector.”
“Our current global crisis calls for courageous and compassionate leadership to secure the well-being of humanity today. It also calls for forward-looking leadership to shape a better tomorrow. It is imperative that we make decisions now that direct investment into long-term, sustainable success for both people and the planet. Mr. Mizuno and Mr. Pedersen are driving this shift in mindset—and practice—among investors around the world,” B Team CEO Halla Tómasdóttir added, “We’re honored to welcome them to The B Team and to work together to redefine the role of asset owners and asset managers at this crucial time.”
For more information, please contact Tyler Zang via email@example.com. (New York).
About The B Team
The B Team is a global collective of business and civil society leaders working to create new norms of corporate leadership today, for a better tomorrow. Together, these leaders are holding themselves and their peers accountable for a new way of doing business—one that measures success not only by financial performance, but also by the health of people and our planet—for the benefit of generations to come.
The B Team was co-founded by Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, and includes Leaders Ajay Banga, Oliver Bäte, Marc Benioff, Jesper Brodin, Sharan Burrow, Kathy Calvin, David Crane, Emmanuel Faber, Christiana Figueres, Mats Granryd, Arianna Huffington, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Yolanda Kakabadse, Isabelle Kocher, Guilherme Leal, Andrew Liveris, Hiro Mizuno, Indra Nooyi, Jean Oelwang, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Torben Möger Pedersen, François-Henri Pinault, Paul Polman, Mary Robinson, Ratan Tata, Hamdi Ulukaya, Zhang Yue and Professor Muhammad Yunus.