EUROPE - Ambitious proposals from the European Commission (EC) to tackle climate change, including a 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, will provide pension funds with the impetus to invest in renewable energy.
He said it meant companies in which it invested could make plans for the next 12 years in terms of their investments in renewable energy.
The package of proposals would see 20% of total EU energy consumption coming from renewables by 2020, along with measures to support the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS), including up to 12 CCS demonstration projects.
Greenhouse emissions would initially be decreased by 20%, rising to 30% when there is an international climate agreement.
USS was one of a number of pension funds across the globe to support the recent Bali Communique, a call for a legally binding United Nations framework to tackle climate change.
Russell said the EC proposals could be expanded to other markets.
He said: "The EU is just covering the European markets, but the sorts of targets being set by the EU are necessary in all markets where we need to see a planned mechanism for getting the reductions we need in emissions over the medium to long term.
"So we are supportive of this sort of policy in all markets, the US, in Asia and markets that need to see both increases in renewable energy and decreases in the carbon emissions."
Russell said such policies enabled pension funds to invest. He explained: "There are already significant investments being made in the renewables sector, in infrastructure and new technologies, and policies like this enable us to take positions on where we think the technologies will go in the future and therefore hopefully put more money into the area.
"We already have investments in this space and undoubtedly we will make more in the future."
The EC's draft Renewables Directive provides the framework for achieving the target of securing 20% of all its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and sets out proposed shares for the UK and other member states to achieve this.
This week's top stories include ITS' management buyout from Mercer, and The Pensions Regulator launching a probe into single-employer defined contribution schemes' default funds.
People retiring in the UK will on average outlive their pension savings by 10 years, according to research by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Steps to improve auto-enrolment are uncontroversial and obvious, but the government is dawdling on introducing the necessary changes, argues Jack Jones.
Professional trustees will be expected to apply for accreditation as part of a framework intended to be launched on 1 July by the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG).