New Money backs Richard Curtis campaign to make UK pensions sustainable

by 9 Jul, 2020

New Money is proud to be a supporter of the Make My Money Matter campaign, launched by co-founder of Comic Relief Richard Curtis with the aim to help make Britain’s £3 trillion pension pot more sustainable, and ensure it is invested in building a better world after the coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign launched on 30 June at an event with speakers: Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, Tanya Steele, CEO of the WWF UK, and Helen Dean, CEO of Nest – the UK’s largest pension provider whose ethical fund has outperformed its default fund five years running – is a campaign to drive systemic change in the pension industry.

The aim of the initiative is to build a movement of individuals demanding a pension they can be proud of; organisations aligning their pensions with their values; pension funds putting people and the planet alongside returns; and the Government to ensure that all pension funds report on their commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050.

So far 21 organisations have joined the initiative including Oxfam, WWF, Comic Relief, Triodos Bank, BNP Paribas (UK), Ecotricity, and the Environment Agency Pension Fund, one of the UK’s largest local government pension schemes, as well as New Money.

Pensions are powerful

To mark the launch, Curtis was joined in a virtual panel discussion with experts in sustainable finance including Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, Helen Dean, the CEO of Nest, and Russell Picot, Chair of the Trustee Board at HSBC UK Pension Scheme. Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF, an organisation that has joined the campaign and is engaging with employees and their pension fund to drive change, also spoke on the panel which was moderated by Gillian Tett, Chair of the Financial Times Editorial Board.

Richard Curtis, co-founder of Make My Money Matter, comments: “Our pensions are powerful, and we must use that power to build a better world. The £3 trillion in our UK pension pot is more than enough to take on the climate emergency, bring hundreds of new drugs to market, or help solve the housing crisis.

“But from tobacco to fossil fuels, gambling to deforestation, pension funds have invested trillions on our behalf without asking us the crucial question – do these investments create a world that we actually want to live in? That is why Make My Money Matter will help people understand their ‘financial footprint’, and empower us all to have pensions we can be proud of.”

Two thirds want better pensions

New research commissioned by Make My Money Matter shows a growing level of concern around sustainable investment amidst the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly a third (32%) of people with a pension saying that they now care even more about the impact their pension has on people and the planet compared with the start of the crisis.

Over half (57%) of the respondents want to see their pensions invested in building a better future for people and the planet post-coronavirus, and a similar number (52%) want their pensions to be part of the solution in tackling climate change. This demand is contrasted with a lack of knowledge, with the survey revealing that nearly three quarters (72%) of Brits who have a pension either do not believe or do not know whether their pension is invested in line with their values.

The greatest opportunity of our time

Mark Carney, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, and Former Governor of the Bank of England, comments: “By helping align finance with society’s values, the Make My Money Matter campaign can support the whole economy transition required to achieve net zero. This could turn the existential risks from climate change into the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.

“Private finance, including pension funds, will provide the $3.5 trillion needed annually for investments in sustainable infrastructure and fund the innovation and re-engineering of business in every sector of the economy. Make My Money Matter and our work for COP 26 will help investors disclose how their client’s money is supporting these investment needs, so people can decide whether their priorities are being met. This will help deliver the world that our citizens demand and that future generations deserve.”

People can show their support by signing the petition launched by Richard Curtis and the Make My Money Matter Campaign calling on UK pension funds to put people and planet alongside profit HERE: 

You can also find out how to make your pension sustainable by downloading The New Money Pension Manual HERE

About the author

About the author

Rebecca Jones

A financial journalist and communications consultant for nearly a decade, Rebecca has worked across national media, b2b, charities and for the UK’s most established sustainable investment team.