The majority of savers in the UK don't know if their pension scheme is taking any action to help tackle climate change, despite the issue being important to them, a new survey has found.
After polling more than 2,000 adults for the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), the researchers found that 80% believe global warming is an important issue, with 51% saying it is “very” or “extremely” important.
However, 59% of workplace pension holders said that they don’t know if their schemes are taking any action to tackle the problem, with just 15% thinking that they are.
The PLSA warned pension funds that they are missing an opportunity to engage with savers about the positive proactive steps they are taking to address climate risk in their investment portfolios.
PLSA chair, Richard Butcher, said: “UK pension schemes manage more than £2trn on behalf of the public. Savers have told us they want us to use the money to make the world a better place.
“It is consistent with our fiduciary duty that we do so and tell them about the positive impact their savings have made.
“What this survey shows is that many people do not realise that pension schemes are unanimous in their support for investing in a climate-aware way, and have been at the vanguard of encouraging better corporate behaviour with respect to climate change.”
Some workplace schemes, including many of the largest and best known names in the sector, have been leading global initiatives to encourage investee companies to adopt greener policies and prepare for a lower-carbon future.
Others have made public net-zero commitments or have reduced – or are in the process of reducing – their investments in fossil fuel-related companies.
The latest survey found that 62% of people think that pension schemes and other investors should hold those in charge of the companies they invest in to account for their efforts to minimise their impact on climate change.
Seven in 10 said that pension schemes should be transparent about the extent to which they invest in a climate-aware way, and that they want financial services firms to be transparent about the impact of their own operations on climate change.
“In recent years there has been a big momentum shift in attitudes towards climate change and the public rightly expects to see more action from the corporate and financial worlds,” Butcher continued. “They want us to make a positive difference.”
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings