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T. Rowe Price, a top global investment firm, knows that the impact of its operations go beyond the bottom line. The firm has long recognized the growing urgency of addressing climate change and for years has proactively integrated environmental considerations into its business practices.

Heather McDonold, Corporate Sustainability Senior Manager for T. Rowe Price, sat down with us to share her insights into the firm’s journey towards becoming Net Zero, the rising importance of sustainability initiatives, and the driving force for its partnership with Climate Vault. 

Ambitious Net Zero Targets

At T. Rowe Price, organizational responsibility extends beyond financial gains and is crucial for building resilience, enhancing reputation, and offering products for investors with sustainability goals. With a Net Zero target for its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040, accompanied by an interim goal for a 75% reduction by 2030 compared with its 2021 baseline, the company is taking significant steps to minimize its direct environmental impact.

According to Heather, “The establishment of our Net Zero target was incredibly meaningful to work on. It involved extensive work—from creating the initial proposal to getting approval from our Board. There was a lot of work that went into it on the back-end to determine how we would actually reach our goal. It was important to us to set an ambitious target and then create a clear road map for how we would get there.”

Establishing a Net Zero target for its Scope 1 and 2 emissions was a manageable first step as these emissions fall directly under the firm’s control, encompassing activities like burning natural gas and managing its utility bills. After analyzing the different categories of its Scope 3 footprint, where its ability to reduce those emissions is limited, T. Rowe Price identified business travel as a notable portion of its greenhouse gas inventory that they could work with an outside partner to address. 

Becoming a Part of the Solution with Climate Vault

T. Rowe Price recognized that in order for the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to become a reality, technology and innovation would need to play a part. Every plausible scenario for limiting the world’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, ultimately requires not only a deep reduction in global emissions, but actual emissions removals – achieved through the currently nascent Carbon Dioxide Removal industry. 

In 2022 T. Rowe Price’s search for a partner that could help them immediately and credibly address the impact of their Scope 3 business travel, while supporting long-term innovation within the CDR space, naturally led them to Climate Vault. 

“Participation in the compliance markets was an interesting concept,” says Heather. “Focusing on the compliance markets made sense to us in terms of what seemed to be a verifiable way to reduce emissions in the immediate term, while the work on the back-end is happening to support and scale carbon removal technology options.”

For T. Rowe Price, the opportunity to actively invest in creating scalable carbon removal technology, while simultaneously addressing its business travel emissions was a no-brainer.

“I think at this point everyone knows that the aspirations of the Paris Climate Agreement to not surpass the temperature threshold are hanging on by a thread,” Heather continues. “By partnering with Climate Vault, we know that we’re actively working to be a part of the solution and investing in CDR solutions is a way that will hopefully get us there sooner. That is incredibly meaningful.”

Employee retention and engagement is also a top priority for T. Rowe Price. In addition to addressing their employee business travel with Climate Vault, they launched a Giving Campaign for employees to neutralize their own personal footprint, which T. Rowe Price matched.

The Growing Role of ESG and Compliance

As T. Rowe Price continues to navigate the evolving regulatory landscape and focuses on compliance with new regulations, the firm remains committed to transparency and client reporting. 

To ensure effective governance and decision-making on ESG matters, T. Rowe Price established its own ESG Oversight Committee to serve as a central decision-making body and establish governance structure and accountability for ESG related issues. Chaired by the firm’s Head of ESG Enablement, the committee plays a crucial role in approving policies, disclosures, and reviewing organizational memberships for alignment with sustainability goals. 

According to Heather, “We’ve definitely seen increased interest in sustainability-themed investing from our clients. They’re taking a look around and seeing the same things that we’re seeing with the realities of climate change and the new legislation that’s coming up. It’s going to impact what companies do and how they need to work towards managing their carbon footprint.”

T. Rowe Price’s commitment to climate initiatives, organizational responsibility, and their partnership with Climate Vault showcases a comprehensive and responsible approach to credible climate action. By integrating sustainability considerations into their decision-making processes and actively investing in carbon reduction and removal efforts, T. Rowe Price is not just adapting to change, but leading the way towards a more sustainable future for us all. 

This article is part of an ongoing series spotlighting the climate action taken by Climate Vault’s 2023 Carbon Champion Award recipients. The award program celebrates Climate Vault Partners who go above and beyond in their climate commitments to make a positive and meaningful impact on their business emissions and the planet. Meet the six 2023 honorees here.

Climate Vault is proud to recognize T. Rowe Price as the 2023 recipient of the Carbon Champion Game Changer Award in recognition of establishing its own ESG Oversight Committee, engaging with employees and key stakeholders through various eco-focused campaigns, and surpassing its 2025 reduction goal in greenhouse gas emissions. The Game Changer award celebrates the Partner that leads the charge against climate change by making a tangible difference in their own carbon footprint, as well as implementing diverse and creative solutions to deepen their impact.