Nest divests from tobacco a year ahead of schedule

The government-backed defined contribution (DC) pension scheme, Nest, has completely divested from tobacco a year ahead of schedule.

The UK’s largest master trust confirmed today (27 August) that its investment portfolio is now tobacco-free.

Nest announced in June 2019 that it would go tobacco-free, after deciding that tobacco was a poor investment for its members.

It cited stricter worldwide regulation against tobacco products, increasingly aggressive legal action by governments against the tobacco industry and falling global smoking rates as the key factors in its decision.

Nest set itself the target of being tobacco-free across its portfolio within two years and has been working with its fund managers to remove all tobacco investments since making the pledge.

The final £40m worth of tobacco stocks in its portfolio have now been sold.

In its announcement in June last year, Nest said that it would likely have £120m invested in tobacco by 2022 if it did not make the change.

Speaking at the launch of the Make My Money Matter campaign in July 2020, Nest CEO, Helen Dean, said that the scheme was on track to be tobacco-free within two months.

According to Dean, the scheme has moved over £1.2bn away from pollutant companies and into firms that are tacking the challenges of climate risk, in a drive to make Nest’s investments more environmentally friendly.

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