Lords debate Pension Schemes Bill Paris Agreement amendment

The House of Lords is debating a Pensions Schemes Bill amendment which proposes requiring UK pension schemes to outline how they will align investment strategies with the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The amendment to the Pension Schemes Bill, which is in day two of the committee stage, was put forward by Baroness Hayman.

Baroness Hayman said government moves to “enable the creation of an oversight, disclosure and compliance regime” were welcome, but added that there were “too many opportunities for regulations to be watered down” as schemes are not required to divulge how their investments aligned with Paris Agreement objectives.

She stated that amendments she and others had tabled would address deficiencies and give consumers “better information and a chance to influence how their money is being invested”, adding that the measures were “a critical part of the UK’s global leadership” in the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

Aviva head of savings and retirement, Alistair McQueen, said: “Private pensions hold £6,000bn of private wealth. This is the biggest source of private wealth in the UK. Private pensions can be force for good.

“Private pensions must play their part in tackling climate change. But bold action is needed. Aviva supports Baroness Hayman’s call for the Pension Schemes Bill to be bolder - by requiring alignment with the Paris Agreement.”

Interactive Investor head of personal finance, Moira O’Neill, said: “At heart this is a transparency issue, but it is also a deeply personal issue that investors are becoming increasingly passionate about - pension schemes have a lot of catching up to do.

“There is no doubt that ‘going green’ is becoming an increasingly powerful investment theme as the climate emergency intensifies, and the ‘Greta Thunberg effect’ continues to push the issue of climate change high up the political agenda.”

O’Neill added that it was also wrong to see green investing as a “generational issue”, as 3.68 per cent of fund and investment trust assets held on the Interactive Investor platform was in socially responsible investments, rising to “3.72 per cent amongst Millennials and 3.89 per cent for baby boomers”.

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