HALF OF BRITS DON’T KNOW THAT THEIR PENSION COULD BE WORSENING THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY
FROM VEGANS UNKNOWINGLY INVESTING IN THE MEAT INDUSTRY, PLASTIC-FREE CAMPAIGNERS INVESTING IN PLASTICS: BRITS ARE URGED TO QUESTION WHERE THEIR PENSION IS BEING INVESTED IN NEW GOOD MONEY WEEK CAMPAIGN
New research by Good Money Week (5-11 October 2019), the campaign to raise awareness of ethical finance, has found that over half of Brits (53%) do not know where their pension is being invested, and a similar amount (52%) don’t know that where their pension is invested can have an impact on the climate emergency.
Analysis by AOD Project found that the vast majority (60%+) of the world’s 100 largest pension funds are yet to have considered climate change.
The findings come as this year’s Good Money Week focuses on banishing the awkwardness around the important questions you need to be asking your boss, predominantly ‘Where is my pension invested?’ as part of this year’s theme #MentionThePension.
The research found that only 12.6% of Brits have asked where their pension is invested. In the last 6 months they are more likely to have discussed Brexit or Donald Trump, and are more likely to ask about short-term perks, like gym memberships or railcards (17%).
Furthermore, 56.9% of Brits say they are unlikely to ask their boss how ethically or sustainably their pension is invested, even though 47.1% do want their pension to marry up with their values. This is likely because savers don’t know they have a sustainable option.
Nearly half of Brits (46%) claim that their spending habits have become a lot more ethically conscious in the last 12 months, with over a third (35.8%) expressing an interest in their pension fund helping to reverse climate change or finance green energy (47.8%)
Most Brits would never consciously make a decision to invest their pension in tobacco (96.8%), alcohol (94.2%) or fast fashion (96%) companies.
However, the reality is that some of the largest companies in the UK are arms companies, oil giants, gambling companies and tobacco firms, and therefore many default workplace pension schemes are likely to hold at least some of them.
60% of those who are unlikely to ask their boss say it’s because they’d never even thought about it, 16.2% don’t care (interestingly, men are more likely (22%) to not care than women (10.6%) are) and 15% don’t want to seem awkward or difficult.
Charlene Cranny, Campaigns Director, Good Money Week, said:
“For most of us – particularly since the introduction of workplace auto-enrolment - pensions are our largest savings pot. However, Good Money Week’s findings show that we are not considering where all of this money is going and what impact it is having on people and the environment.
We need to ensure that our pension savings are used in ways that match up with our everyday values. That change can start with one simple question your boss or HR Manager: “Where is my pension being invested?” followed by “can it be more sustainable?”. Conversations like these are important and shouldn’t feel awkward. Even if you don’t know much about your pension asking the question means your company will know these things matter to their employees, and that they need to consider them too when choosing or speaking with the workplace scheme provider.
Some pension funds have already decided not to support industries like weapons and tobacco. But they may not be taking action on other things people care about like the environment, and or thinking about issues linked to the climate emergency like the meat industry and reducing plastic. If company bosses and individual savers tell their pension provider these issues matter, huge amounts of pension savers’ money can instead be used to support more sustainable companieswhich benefit people and ourplanet. If not look at switching – you can often do it quickly online.
3.5 million Brits have now gone vegan and many of use now avoid single use plastic. Our pensions are another important lifestyle choice that can have a huge impact.
Quite frankly, there’s not much point in having a nice full pension pot if there’s no planet left to spend it on. Plus, there is increasing evidence that funds which actively consider environmental, social and governance risks, and take action to manage them, often produce better returns than those which don’t – so it’s a win win! What are you waiting for?”
This year’s Good Money Week is sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investments, an investment company with a strong focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations that can enhance long-term returns and reduce risk.
Head to www.goodmoneyweek.com for more information.