Pension schemes urged to act as savers set sights on climate-positive stewardship

Around 18 million savers want their pension scheme to adopt climate positive policies with their asset manager to encourage companies they are invested in to reduce their carbon emissions, according to research from Make My Money Matter (MMMM) and Tulipshare.

The survey revealed that over half (51 per cent) of pension holders want their scheme to adopt voting policies to encourage their portfolio companies to act in a way that reflects their values.

In addition to this, 28 per cent would actually contribute more to their pension if they knew that it had climate-friendly policies already in place.

In contrast, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) stated that they would switch pension schemes if they found it had not introduced good climate voting policies, whilst around one in 10 would reduce their monthly contributions if they discovered this to be the case.

However, climate was not the only key area of engagement for savers, as a further 35 per cent would support improvements in workers’ rights, whilst 24 per cent would support change to a company’s remuneration policy, such as curbing excessive pay for senior staff.

Additionally, 22 per cent suggested that they would be supportive of more diversity and gender equality policies, such as board representation.

Despite this, MMMM warned that poor understanding and transparency remain a barrier, as only 48 per cent of savers were aware that their money is actually invested in companies worldwide and less than 40 per cent were aware that their pension scheme can exercise its power this AGM season.

Commenting on the research, MMMM, co-founder, Richard Curtis, stated: “Everyone knows about the power of the ballot box – but our democratic muscle doesn’t stop there. There’s £2.7trn in UK pensions - and that money belongs to us.

"By telling those managing our money that we expect them to be noisy custodians of the planet that we will retire into, we can open the boardroom to millions of new voices for change, and make our money matter.

"This AGM season, it’s time to activate the power of our pensions. Our money funds huge and powerful companies – so let’s put it to work, changing their policies and changing the world.”

Adding to this, Tulipshare founder and CEO, Antoine Argouges, stated that, this year, climate resolutions top an "unprecedented number" of shareholder proposals.

"Institutions and retail shareholders alike should be aware of the power of their vote in the upcoming proxy season," he continued. "I truly believe once people understand the power their money has, shareholders can change the world.”

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