Largest UK pension schemes failing to act on climate change, campaign warns

The majority of large UK pension schemes have failed to act on climate ahead of COP26, according to research from Make My Money Matter, with 71 of 100 major schemes yet to make robust net zero commitments.

Make My Money Matter is a campaign established by filmmaker and activist, Richard Curtis.

While an estimated £800bn worth of UK pension money is now in schemes working to tackle the climate crisis, Curtis’ campaign has highlighted there is still almost £2trn in UK pension schemes that are “driving” the climate emergency.

The research suggested a stark contrast between defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) schemes, with Make My Money Matter stating that the majority of DB schemes are lagging behind. However, the research did highlight that DC workplace pension providers have embraced the “race to zero” – with almost all of the leading 15 making credible emissions reduction pledges.

Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, the Make My Money Matter campaign has called on all schemes to commit to robust net zero targets, and urged for the government to make net zero mandatory for all pension schemes.

“With leading businesses committing to sustainable pensions, citizens using their pension power to green their investments, and robust net zero commitments from progressive pension providers, the movement to Make Our Money Matter is growing every day,” Curtis commented.

“But this report highlights just how far we have to go. With almost three quarters of leading pensions schemes not yet aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement, we have to act with urgency to make sure that the trillions in our pensions help tackle the climate crisis, not fuel the fire.

“We need pensions to be proud of. Our report shows that voluntary action alone is not enough and that’s why we want the UK government to make net zero mandatory for all schemes at COP26.”

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