Almost 18 million savers keen to switch to a green pension

Just under half (44 per cent) of UK pension holders, representing almost 18 million savers, would switch to a green pension if offered one by their provider, according to a survey from Make My Money Matter (MMMM).

They survey, undertaken by YouGov, also found nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of UK pension holders want their retirement savings to help fight climate change, whilst 53 per cent wanted their pension to do good for both people and the planet.

Furthermore, 55 per cent of savers said that they would switch provider if they discovered their pension was invested in deforestation or labour rights violations, whilst just under half (49 per cent) would do the same for the production of weapons, and 41 per cent would do so for the funding of fossil fuels.

However, the majority (80 per cent) of savers have never considered that their pension could contribute to global warming at all, with 63 per cent admitting that they have no idea where their pension is currently invested.

This increased to 74 per cent amongst those aged 18-24, with more than a third (37 per cent) of this age group also unaware that their pension counts as an investment.

This is despite this age group being the most likely to switch to a green pension, with 65 per cent likely to take this option of offered by their provider.

MMMM warned that this lack of clarity could lead pension holders to assume the worst, highlighting that only 12 per cent of pension holders believe that their pension is currently having a positive impact on people and the planet.

In addition to this, 60 per cent of savers do not know, and a further 17 per cent do not believe, that their contributions are invested in line with their values, which MMMM warned could potentially undo much of the good work savers have done to become more sustainable in their day-to-day lives.

Commenting on the findings, MMMM co-founder, Richard Curtis, said: “This research absolutely confirms what our campaign and many others have been saying - that UK savers want their money invested in ways which help tackle the climate crisis. But are held back by a lack of information, poor communication and limited choice.

“As people across the UK increasingly engage with all the things we can do fight climate change – from the food we eat to the clothes we wear and how we travel – 80 per cent of us never think about how our money could actually be contributing to the climate crisis.

“Having a sustainable pension can make our money matter and be one of the most powerful tools we have to change the world. We must urgently change this and unlock the hidden superpower hiding within our pensions."

In particular, the group has called on all pension providers to commit to net zero targets by COP26 in order to ensure that the UK becomes a " true global leader in green pensions".

He continued: “We know that continued investments in unsustainable businesses are bad for the planet and go against the wishes of the majority of UK savers. They are also increasingly bad for returns and sustainable pensions are now delivering excellent returns.

“Now is the moment for the pensions industry to respond, and make sure that the £3trn invested in our pensions actually helps to build a world we want to retire in.”

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