Pension power as businesses face climate risk

Written by Lori Campbell on 6th Jul 2020

A new campaign spearheaded by Mark Carney and comic relief’s Richard Curtis is calling for the £3 trillion in UK pensions to be used to fight the climate emergency as three quarters of businesses say they feel threatened by climate change. Meanwhile, an inquiry is told the UK is on course to fail on its legally-binding net zero emissions targets, Garnier announces a trailblazing ‘Green Beauty’ strategy and Ethical Money and 3D Investing are bought by Square Mile. It’s the Good With Money news brief. 

Mark Carney and Comic Relief’s Richard Curtis launch ethical pensions campaign

Pension funds are being urged to invest the nation’s £3 trillion in savings to help fight the climate emergency.

The new Make My Money Matter campaign spearheaded by celebrity film director Richard Curtis and ex-Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the money in UK retirement pots could be a powerful force against climate change.

Carney has previously warned pensions funds and other businesses risk seeing assets become ‘worthless’ unless they wake up to the climate crisis. He said in December before leaving the Bank of England that efforts to halt investment in fossil fuels were ‘not moving fast enough, and climate change was a ‘tragedy on the horizon’ for the planet but would also have enormous costs for businesses which failed to adapt.

Now, in a new role as UN special envoy for climate action and finance, Carney says supporting an economic transition could be ‘the greatest commercial opportunity of our time’.

Curtis, co-founder of Comic Relief, is calling on the pension industry to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and for the Government to ensure that funds report on their progress on sustainable investing.

New research from Make My Money Matter shows 57 per cent of UK adults with a pension want to see their savings invested in building a better future for people and the planet after the coronavirus pandemic, and 52 per cent want them used to help tackle climate change.

Find out how to change your pension for Good in our Good Guide to Pensions 


Three quarters of UK businesses feel threatened by climate crisis

Three quarters of UK businesses feel threatened by the climate crisis, reveals a new study.

However, only one in 10 have undertaken climate risk assessments and regard the issue as “a priority”.

A study of more than 500 UK businesses by Earth Science AI company Cervest reveals a major gap between corporate awareness of the dangers posed by climate change and in-house action to address the escalating risks.

The poll reveals that 60 per cent of companies in the UK are concerned that climate change will prove damaging for their business. Yet just one in 10 said they were assessing climate risk as a priority, while an overwhelming majority of those surveyed (72 per cent) said they saw climate as a ‘political problem’.

Iggy Bassi, founder and chief executive of Cervest, said: “Our findings show that businesses are unclear of the risks that climate presents to them, and the potential price tag that goes with that.

“Bearing the brunt of this current pandemic will be an immediate focus for many companies. But the long term cost of ignoring climate change threatens to be far more severe than the expense of putting strategies in place today.”

UK ‘will fail’ on net zero targets, inquiry warned.

An inquiry into the government’s progress on reaching net zero emissions by 2050 has been told the UK is “clearly not” making sufficient progress to hit the legally binding target.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s inquiry into net zero and the UN climate summits was told by experts that following the coronavirus pandemic, the only way to coherently create jobs, stimulate spending and future-proof the British economy was to prioritise a green recovery.

But expert witness Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change, said the UK is failing on climate change in almost every sector. He said: “That has been covered up by the fact we have done relatively well on the decarbonisation of energy, but in most other areas we are not reaching anywhere near the levels we have to. The government is not on track to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, both of which of course are statutory requirements.”

Baroness Brown added: “Nothing like enough has been done… We have a real challenge. We had the Met Office telling us yesterday that 40C by the end of the century is something we have to be prepared for and we know that the 2018 summer will be a typical summer – a 50 per cent chance of a summer like that by 2050. Unless we do more, that will significantly increase the number of fatalities.”

Here’s how to meet ALL of the 17 global goals with your own money

Garnier launches trailblazing ‘Green Beauty’ strategy

Beauty brand Garnier is to stop using virgin plastic for its packaging and launch a pioneering digital carbon labelling system. Its new ‘ Green Beauty’ sustainability strategy will make it a trailblazer for parent company L’Oreal.

Garnier says its packaging will all be either reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, saving 37,000 tonnes of virgin plastic each year.

The brand also announced new partnerships with two NGOs, Ocean Conservancy and Plastics for Change, to address the environmental and social costs of plastic pollution.

Alongside action on plastic waste, Garnier also promised to improve the environmental credentials of all its products by 2025, in part by switching to green power at its factories. It added that supply chains will be scrutinised to ensure all plant-based and renewable ingredients are sustainably sourced by the same date.

Refillable cosmetics: top 5 zero waste beauty brands 

Ethical Money and 3D Investing bought by Square Mile

Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research has acquired Ethical Money and its trading entity 3D Investing in a bid to enhance its sustainable investing capabilities.

3D Investing – authors of the Good Investment Review – specialises in assessing impact funds based on whether they make a “positive or measurable” environmental or social change.

A Square Mile spokesperson said this is an “excellent complement” to the firm’s responsible investing research, which lists funds under three categories: exclusion, sustainability and impact, and assesses them based on their long-term performance objectives as well as their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials.

The acquisition will see 3D Investing founder John Fleetwood become director of responsible and sustainable investing at Square Mile. He will also work with the company’s executive committee to improve its independent assessment of funds aiming to achieve a positive impact. 3D Investing’s branding will be retained.

Meanwhile, Liontrust has agreed to buy the Architas UK investment business in a deal worth £75m as it looks to expand its distribution reach among financial advisers.

The Good Investment Review 2020

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