Varma joins Science Based Targets initiative

Varma has committed to set near-term company-wide emission reductions in line with climate science with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which drives climate action through science-based emissions reduction targets. The global joint initiative sets clear and ambitious guidelines to enable private sector companies to reduce their emissions.

By joining the initiative, companies commit to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. It is important for companies to set science-based targets, as it is believed that the climate targets set by various countries and governments will not be sufficient on their own to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“The IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stresses that it is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, but we are dangerously close to missing the window for achieving it. That is why emissions must be swiftly reduced. By committing to the SBT initiative, we want to increase the transparency of our operations and ensure that our climate actions are aligned with global targets. As a responsible investor, this is important to us – after all, we also require our investees to take climate matters into consideration,” says Varma’s Sustainability Director Hanna Kaskela.

The SBTi’s long-term goal is for the signatory companies to commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This means that the carbon dioxide emissions they generate must not exceed the amount that can be sequestered from the atmosphere into carbon sinks.

What is the Science Based Targets initiative?

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a joint initiative of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Companies that are part of the initiative are required to set their own short- and long-term targets, which must be validated by SBTi. The progress made in achieving the targets is tracked in stages and reported to SBTi. Companies also receive guidelines concerning how rapidly and by how much they must reduce their emissions. The SBTi has tailored its guidance by sector, taking business characteristics into consideration.

“The short-term science-based targets set for financial institutions are well-aligned with Varma’s climate policy, so committing to the targets was a natural step for us. We also committed to setting long-term targets in line with net-zero; the guidelines on long-term targets for financial institutions will be published at the beginning of next year,” says Vesa Syrjäläinen, Development Manager, Responsible Investment at Varma.

The initiative was launched in 2015 and currently includes more than 3,700 companies across 70 countries and 15 industries. The signatory companies represent more than a third of global market capitalisation, corresponding to altogether USD 38 trillion. According to the SBTi’s report, companies that have committed to the initiative have significantly reduced their emissions compared to the average.

SBTi’s website


Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company is a responsible and solvent investor of pension funds. The company is responsible for the statutory earnings-related pension cover of some 957,000 people in the private sector. Premiums written totalled EUR 5.6 billion in 2021 and pension payments stood at EUR 6.2 billion. Varma’s investment portfolio amounted to EUR 56.7 billion at the end of June 2022.

Hanna Kaskela

Senior Vice-President, Sustainability and Communications

Marjut Tervola

Communications Manager

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