Half of scheme representatives believe the current fiduciary duty of trustees hinders them in their ability to address climate change, according to a poll by XPS Pensions Group.
The firm's survey - which questioned more than 200 pension trustees, pension managers and corporate sponsors - also revealed 94% believe returns can have a positive effect on society without necessarily detracting from financial returns.
Additionally, 85% thought that pension scheme investment should make a contribution to changing the trajectory of climate change.
XPS said the findings "show how far views have changed" and that pension schemes are seeking to make ESG considerations and climate change a central part of their investment strategy.
Head of ESG investing Sarita Gosrani said: "Knowing the importance of ESG and climate risk but feeling conflicted from a fiduciary duty perspective will hinder some trustees from taking important action within their schemes."
Last month, ShareAction put forward proposals for a ‘responsible investment bill' to push pension trustees and asset managers to consider ESG factors within their legal duty to beneficiaries, as well as ensuring trustees are up to standard.
Gosrani added: "The proposal for a responsible investment bill was primarily intended to prompt the debate. However there seems to be a growing weight of opinion that it could play an important role in prompting a much needed shift for trustees to not only think long term but to explicitly consider all factors that can impact member outcomes."
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