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UK university pension scheme to add climate focus to 5 billion stg of AUM

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LONDON (Reuters) -Britain's Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) will add a climate focus to 5 billion pounds ($6.77 billion) of its assets under management to meet climate targets, it said on Monday.

The climate focus will initially reduce emissions compared to the broad equity market by at least 30%, and further cut its carbon intensity by 7% each following year, USS said in a statement.

USS, which has 82 billion pounds in total assets under management and is one of Britain's biggest pension schemes, said the shift was a first step in its ambition to become Net Zero by 2050 or before.

Pension funds, asset managers and insurers are looking to cut their exposure to fossil fuels.

USS said the investment approach would be managed by Legal and General Investment Management, using a climate transition benchmark.

"Investment in more climate-friendly assets...offers upside return potential, while lower exposure to companies poorly positioned to adapt to such a world reduces our exposure to downside risk", said Innes McKeand, head of strategic equities at USS Investment Management.

Aviva Investors said on Monday it would broaden its definition of sustainable investments this year to include biodiversity and human rights so that companies consider the "whole picture of sustainability".

($1 = 0.7390 pounds)

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and Ed Osmond)

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