Film producer Richard Curtis - also co-founder of Comic Relief - has launched a campaign to help make the UK’s £3trn of pension assets more sustainable and ensure it is invested in building a better world after the coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign - Make My Money Matter - was launched at an event yesterday and aims to build a movement of individuals; organisations and pension funds to drive change.
It is calling on the pensions industry to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and for the government to require, in the forthcoming Pension Schemes Bill, that pension funds report on their emissions projections to 2050 and their alignment to the Paris Climate Agreement.
A total of 21 organisations have joined the initiative so far 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.
To mark the launch, Curtis was joined in a virtual panel discussion with experts in sustainable finance including UN special envoy for climate action and finance Mark Carney; Nest chief executive Helen Dean; HSBC UK Pension Scheme trustee chairman Russell Picot; and WWF chief executive Tanya Steele.
Commenting on the launch, Curtis said: "Our pensions are powerful, and we must use that power to build a better world. The £3trn 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."
Carney added: "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."
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.
People can show their support by signing the petition calling on UK pension funds to put people and planet alongside profit: https://makemymoneymatter.co.uk/sign-the-petition/#
PGIM Investments has launched a global corporate ESG fund, which will be “the first of a newly-created suite” of PGIM Fixed Income’s ESG UCITS strategies available to investors outside of the US.
Professional Pensions spoke to Natixis Investment Managers about a recent survey of over 60 defined contribution (DC) plans in the UK which found that many DC schemes have both the liquidity and the positive intention to invest in illiquid assets.
A range of predominantly UK corporate pension schemes, local authority funds and insurance companies have committed £2.7bn to the latest fundraising round for Macquarie infrastructure debt strategy, Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions (MIDIS)....
The Lothian Pension Fund (LPF) has published a statement of responsible investment principles with a focus on incorporating ESG issues into analysis and decision-making, while also committing to report on activities and progress.