Sustainable pensions 27x more impactful than not flying and veganism combined - MMMM

Moving a pension to a more sustainable fund is 27 times more effective in reducing your carbon footprint than not flying and becoming a vegan combined, according to the newly launched Make My Money Matter (MMMM) Campaign.

The campaign, which was launched yesterday by screenwriter, producer and director, Richard Curtis, aims to shift the £3trn held by UK pension points into sustainable investments.

Speaking at the launch, Curtis emphasised that “people are in the mood to change their own behaviours in order to change the world”, highlighting this as particularly true amongst the younger generation.

He stated that now is the time to consider our “financial footprint” alongside carbon footprint, emphasising that the current pandemic has proved that “big things can happen”, and that climate change risks should be seriously considered.

Curtis also noted that throughout the Covid-19 crisis, around £70bn of assets had already moved into ethical funds, whilst £200bn had "flown out of the more unethical things".

He explained that the crisis had likely accelerated the pace of change, and could represent an opportunity to “kick off” and "build back better".

The campaign has urged members to “ask the questions”, and get in touch with both their pension provider and their employer or union to push for change.

“In actually creating a public demand for this, you will get a massive change in the way that pension funds look at what pensioners actually want, and that trickles upwards towards making sure that all the real complexities that there are here to do with fiduciary responsibilities and all that move quicker," Curtis added.

"The last thing people want to do is have a pension that diminishes in its value, but worse than that would be a pension you collect in a world of fire."

He also clarified however, that it's "not a question of profit vs ethics", explaining that over the last 10 years responsible environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds have "actually been performing consistently better."

The campaign already has a number of industry and charity partners, including PensionBee, Quietroom, BNP Paribas, and Comic Relief.

It has also been supported by former governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who, speaking at the launch, highlighted the campaign as a “catalyst” to drive change in the financial sector.

He stated: “I think this campaign is exactly the catalyst this financial sector needs to help open that door all the way.

"They're demanding this information from companies, and companies are increasingly doing this and are actually standing up and saying we’ll transition to net zero as a consequence, but people up and down the country don’t know that.

"It's not being communicated, and so pension fund money is not necessarily being invested in a way that’s consistent with peoples values.”

Curtis also acknowledged that "it’s not easy to change", but stressed that it should be viewed as an opportunity for the industry, and emphasising that some people would invest more into their pension if they thought it was doing good.

He concluded: "We are asking the pension companies to make the information more available, more attractive, and to actually benefit from those things."

This was echoed by Nest CEO Helen Dean, who emphasised that the pensions industry would need to "stop using all this jargon" that can often "baffle" consumers, and establish a "common language".

She added: "We exist to improve the retirements of our many millions of members and we simply cannot do that if we ignore the world they’ll be retiring into.

"We’re long-term investors and we need the companies we invest in to thrive over the long term and be sustainable.

"We also fundamentally believe that well run companies with sound environmental and social practices are much more likely to be profitable and successful over the long term."

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