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Witan becomes first investment trust to commit to Net Zero Asset Managers initiative

Witan Investment Trust plc (‘Witan’), one of the UK’s largest investment trusts, is pleased to announce its commitment to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (‘NZAM’), aiming to become a “net zero” company and work towards a “net zero” portfolio by 2050 at the latest. This means aiming to achieve zero net carbon emissions for us as a Company and for our investment portfolio by 2050 and reporting against defined milestones during the intervening years. Witan believes it is the first investment trust to commit to the NZAM.

As an investment trust with a long heritage, Witan aims to make well-informed investment decisions that ensure the pursuit of prosperity is achieved in a sustainable way that is consistent with the wellbeing of the planet and its people. For this reason, Witan has a comprehensive and evolving responsible investment strategy to enable shareholders to continue to benefit from a diverse portfolio of sustainable businesses. This strategy, of which the net zero commitment forms a key part, embeds responsible investment considerations fully into the investment analysis, risk management and central oversight of the investment portfolio.

To underline Witan’s commitment, we have announced that the trust has signed up to the NZAM. Witan joins a growing international group of asset managers committed to supporting the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees celsius. Witan is the first investment trust to sign the NZAM and joins the current 220 signatories, who collectively have over $50 trillion in assets under management.

As a multi-manager investment trust, Witan’s responsible investment strategy and net zero commitment will be achieved in close partnership with the fund managers that manage portfolios on behalf of the trust. Like Witan, all of Witan’s current managers are signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (‘UNPRI’). In addition, half of the current fund managers have already signed up to the NZAM. These initiatives each provide a structured framework for engagement with companies and reporting on how Witan and the fund managers are addressing the net zero transition.

Andrew Bell, Chief Executive Officer at Witan Investment Trust plc, comments: “Climate change is one of the biggest and most pervasive challenges that we face globally; failing to adapt to it presents considerable risks to society and to financial prosperity. We are proud to be the first investment trust to have joined the NZAM. This commitment is underpinned by our responsible investment strategy and our long-term investment approach. Far from there being a conflict between good returns and responsible investing, managing assets in line with these principles is key to achieving good returns that are sustainable in terms of businesses’ strategies their wider acceptance by society. By joining the NZAM, we hope to lead by example and encourage other companies, including those we invest in, to progress towards a net zero future.”

James Hart, Investment Director at Witan Investment Trust plc, said: “It is important to understand that a commitment to net zero is about promoting engagement with companies to effect change and have a greater positive impact than they would if we insisted on divestment. Imposing a blanket ban on investment in certain companies or sectors (other than very selectively) risks hiding problems or transferring them to less well-regulated jurisdictions. Our focus is on working with our managers to ensure ESG issues are properly assessed and addressed, to hold them to account and if necessary change managers whose processes fall short. We face a pressing opportunity to combat climate change and to prosper from efforts to mitigate or adapt to it. We relish being part of this opportunity.”


For further information please contact:

Alexis Barling, Director of Marketing
Witan Investment Trust plc
Tel: 020 7227 9770
[email protected]

Notes to Editors

Witan Investment Trust plc

Established in 1909, Witan is one of the UK's largest investment trusts, managing £1.9bn (source: Witan, as at 31.01.2022) on behalf of over 25,000 investors. Witan operates a multi-manager structure and currently has 8 principal managers. For further details please visit www.witan.com.

Issued and approved by Witan Investment Services Limited. Witan Investment Trust is an equity investment. Please remember that past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise as a result of currency and market fluctuations and you may not get back the amount originally invested.


This material is a marketing communication issued and approved by Witan Investment Services Limited. Please remember that past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise as a result of currency and market fluctuations and you may not get back the amount originally invested.

Q4 2016
Q4 2017
Q4 2017
Q4 2018
Q4 2018
Q4 2019
Q4 2019
Q4 2020
Q4 2020
Q4 2021
Share Price22.1%-8.1%22.1%2.7%11.9%
Net Asset Value19.1%-8.4%21.3%4.2%15.8%
Benchmark**15.5%-6.6%20.1%9.5%19.9%

* Source: Morningstar, percentage growth to 31st December each year. Total return includes the notional investment of dividends.

** Witan’s benchmark is a composite of 85% Global (MSCI All Country World Index) and 15% UK (MSCI UK IMI Index). From 01.01.2017 to 31.12.2019 the benchmark was 30% UK, 25% North America, 20% Asia Pacific, 20% Europe (ex UK), 5% Emerging Markets. From 01.10.2007 to 31.12.2016 the benchmark was 40% UK, 20% North America, 20% Europe (ex UK) and 20% Asia Pacific.The benchmark changes since 2007 reflect a shift from the UK in favour of a more international strategic asset allocation, together with an index simplification from 2020. For more information go to www.witan.com/support/legal-information.

The views expressed herein represent those of the specific fund managers (as at the date of publication) and not those of Witan Investment Services. No reliance may be placed for any purpose on the information and opinions contained in the newsletter or their accuracy or completeness. No part of this material may be copied, photocopied or duplicated in any form or distributed to any person that is not an employee, officer, director or authorized agent of the recipient, without Witan Investment Services Limited's prior permission. Witan Investment Services Limited is registered in England no. 5272533 of 14 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AA. Witan Investment Services Limited provides investment services and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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