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18 million savers would switch to a green pension

A green piggy bank shown on a white background

An astonishing £3 trillion is invested in UK pensions to build savings for the future. But have you ever thought about where your pension savings are invested?

From fossil fuels to tobacco, exploitation to extraction, these investments often contradict our values, says Make My Money Matter.

The campaign -- co-founded by Richard Curtis, screenwriter and producer and one of the founders of Comic Relief -- is calling for more transparency over where our pension money goes. The aim is to encourage the industry to choose investments that build a better world.

Are savers interested in moving their pension savings into ethical investments?

New research from Make My Money Matter has found that 44% of pension holders (equating to almost 18 million across the country) would switch to a green pension if offered one by their provider.

The survey confirms that savers want their investments to build a healthier planet, with 61% of pension holders stating that they want their pension to play an active role in fighting climate change. Another 53% consider it important that their pension does good for both people and the planet.

Over half (55%) of pension holders surveyed by YouGov for Make My Money Matter said they would switch provider if they discovered that their pension was invested in deforestation or labour rights violations and just under half would do the same if their money was found to be funding fossil fuels (41%) or the production of weapons (49%).

However, savers currently appear to be in the dark around where their pensions are actually invested as 80% have never considered whether their monthly contributions could be accelerating global warming and almost two thirds (63%) have no idea where their pension is invested.

Make My Money Matter pointed out that this lack of clarity can lead customers to assume the worst, as only 12% of pension holders believe that their pension is having a positive impact on people and the planet.

The majority do not know (60%) or do not believe (17%) that their contributions are invested in line with their values -- potentially undoing much of their own efforts to become more sustainable in their day-to-day lives.

Hidden superpower

Commenting on the findings, Richard Curtis said: "This research absolutely confirms what our campaign and many others have been saying -- that UK savers want their money invested in ways which help tackle the climate crisis. But are held back by a lack of information, poor communication and limited choice."

Having a sustainable pension can be "one of the most powerful tools we have to change the world" and we need to "unlock the hidden superpower hiding within our pensions", Curtis argued.

"To do this, we're calling for all pension providers to commit to Net Zero targets by COP26, ensuring that the UK becomes a true global leader in green pensions. We know that continued investments in unsustainable businesses are bad for the planet and go against the wishes of the majority of UK savers. They are also increasingly bad for returns and sustainable pensions are now delivering excellent returns.

"Now is the moment for the pensions industry to respond, and make sure that the £3 trillion invested in our pensions actually helps to build a world we want to retire in."

Posted by Fidelius on May 10th 2021

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