Your planet-saving superpower is.. your pension!

Written by Lori Campbell on 9th Jul 2021

Greening your pension is 21 times more powerful in the fight against climate change than going veggie, stopping flying, and switching to a renewable energy provider combined, new research reveals.

The study by Make My Money Matter, Aviva and Route2 shows that making your pension climate-friendly is by far the single most effective action an individual can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

Those with an average-sized £30,000 pension pot can expect to save a huge 19 tonnes of carbon a year by changing to a greener pension, according to the data. Savers with a larger pension of at least £100,000 could save up to 64 tonnes of carbon – that’s nine times the average UK citizen’s yearly carbon footprint. 

The report puts the enormous power of your pension to help protect the environment into perspective, when compared to smaller lifestyle changes many of us try to make:

Action Pension Power
Driving an electric car 20x
Switching to a renewable energy provider 40x
Adopting a vegan diet 57x
Giving up flying, becoming vegetarian and switching to a renewable energy provider combined 21x

Make My Money Matter has launched a ’21x challenge’, calling on UK savers to lobby their pension provider to go green.

Co-founder of the campaign, Ex-film director Richard Curtis, said: “We have taken real collective steps in our society to become greener in our day-to-day lives. However, I helped create Make My Money Matter after being alerted to the fact that our pensions could be undoing all of our hard work without us even knowing. These findings confirm just how important our money is in the fight against climate change. In fact, our pensions are the most powerful weapon we have to help protect the planet.

Find out how to change YOUR pension for good with our Good Guide to Pensions

“We need the entire UK pensions industry to go green – making their default funds more sustainable so all savers can have a pension to be proud of. As individuals, we have a critical role to play in driving this change by showing providers that we want our money invested in a way that does good, not harm and, so that we can retire into a world that isn’t on fire. 

“That’s why we are calling on all UK savers to take the 21x challenge and ask their provider to go green in 2021, meaning that their scheme is committed to urgent carbon reduction targets, halving emissions this decade, and actively investing in solutions that help save our planet.”

Top 6 ethical pension funds in 2021

Nick Robins, Professor in Practice – Sustainable Finance at the London School of Economics called the study a “powerful piece of analysis.”

He added: “Shifting investment is an important way of sending signals to companies to accelerate action to support the net-zero transition. Shareholder engagement is another strategy, and the use of this tool can act to draw out how individual savers ensure that their pensions provide a lever for climate action.

“The study points to the need for individuals to build up their capacity to make informed climate choices over all aspects their lifestyle, not least finance.”

Which ethical funds walk the talk? See our Good Investment Review


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