Welcome to State of play, a series where we gather insight on the world's most pressing issues. In this edition, we explore the state of our pensions industry.
There is a massive £2.7 trillion invested in the UK pension sector, but how is this money invested? Does it match the morals of those that it invests on behalf of? We invited Make My Money Matter, an organisation that wants to make everyone proud of their pension, to shed some light on where pensions are invested and what we can do to have our say!
The secret weapon you didn’t know you had to tackle climate change
Going veggie, giving up flying, switching to a renewable energy provider at home… these are some of the most common individual actions to tackle climate change.
But while these are important steps to take care of our planet, there is a hidden and effective tool at our disposal: our money. At Make My Money Matter we know that our money is one of the most important tools we have in building towards a more sustainable future. And the evidence has our back: greening your pension can be up to 21x more effective at reducing your carbon footprint than going veggie, switching to a renewable energy provider and stopping flying combined.
With £2.7 trillion invested in the UK’s pension sector alone, the potential for this money to have a positive impact and accelerate climate action is extraordinary. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to most of us, our pensions and savings often make us accidental investors in practices we avoid and causes we fight against. For example, our recent research shows that two pounds for every ten invested in an average pension is linked to deforestation.
Pensions are powerful, but we know they can be scary, confusing and inaccessible. That’s why we set up this campaign to help give the public more voice and choice over where their money is invested and make sure the trillions invested on our behalf helps build a better world.
To do this, we’ve been driving a cultural awakening around the power of our pensions. By raising awareness, driving action, and empowering the public with knowledge and tools, we’re helping them use the hidden superpower of their pension in the fight against the climate emergency.
And it’s been working: our message has reached over 22 million people across the UK and we have seen an 85% increase in citizens who now understand the link between their money and the climate crisis. This growing pressure from individual and organisational pension members, has led to now more than 40 leading pension providers – managing over £1 trillion in assets – to commit to robust net zero targets.
But this is just the start. We are building a world where all our money in our pensions, banks, savings and investments can help us protect the planet and finance the solutions that will ensure we actually have a world to retire into.
The latest scientific reports warn us about a ‘code red’ for humanity if we don’t bring down greenhouse gas emissions. The clock is ticking, but we still have a very small, precious, window of time in which we can act to avert climate disaster, and our money must become a key element of this fight.
The decision on where we keep, save and invest our money today will shape our lives and impact future generations for decades to come. That’s why it’s time we all join the movement to make our money matter.
Find out more about Make My Money Matter at https://makemymoneymatter.co.uk/
Question your pension: practical steps to Make YOUR Money Matter
So if you want to use that power to build a better world, here are some practical steps you can take today:
- Find out who your provider is – ask your employer or use this handy government service to find out who’s looking after your money (you might even have a few without even realising!)
- Ask for a green pension – contact your pension provider and tell them you want a green pension, aligned to net zero. Take the 21x Challenge to contact them and find out what your fund is doing to help build a better future.
- Get your employer involved - many pensions are run through workplace schemes. You can engage your employer to ask that they offer a green pension and if they are already working on it, make sure they sign up to MMMM’s Green Pensions Charter. After all, what’s the point in your company delivering a brilliant sustainability plan but having it undone by their pension?
- If you have a self-invested pension plan (SIPP) - you’ll likely have even more control over where your money’s going. So, contact your financial advisor or log in to your SIPP platform, ask where your money’s invested, check the sustainability ratings and see what options you have for making your money matter. Good With Money has a guide which outlines the top-rated funds that could go into a SIPP.