Ikea and BrewDog among backers of new green pensions commitment

The UK's pensions sector covers some £3trn of investment

Signatories of the new ‘Green Pension Charter’, convened by Ricard Curtis’s Make My Money Matter campaign and community coalition Count Us In, include EY, Ikea, BrewDog, Ramboll UK, Ella’s Kitchen and Triodos Bank.

The Charter commits signatories to ensure that their pension schemes are “not investing in industries that harm our planet” by the time that COP26 takes place this November. Make My Money Matter’s primary focus is on fossil fuel divestment, but the Charter also covers businesses in other sectors with high environmental impact. For example, mining and extractives firms with no clear transition plans would be excluded under the Charter’s definition.

Transition plans, the Charter states, should clearly outline how projects receiving finance will align with net-zero by 2050 at the latest.

The aim of the Charter, beyond accelerating action and increasing ambition among the 50 first signatories, is to encourage a wider shift across the pensions sector. Since it launched last year, Make My Money Matter has urged individuals and businesses to press their pension schemes to improve climate commitments and enhance emissions disclosure, leading to new pledges from the likes of Smart Pension and Brunel Pensions Partnership.

“If all companies aligned their pensions with their values, billions could be directed towards clean energy, affordable housing, medical research and green infrastructure – they could be at the heart of the solution of the climate crisis,” Count Us In leadership team member Eric Levine said.

“This collective call to action will drive change from the heart of the economy – finance – and deliver long-term results. We’re excited by the large uptake of the Charter, which clearly indicates a society-wide demand for a cleaner, thriving future for all – and we look forward to welcoming more signatories in this commitment.”

The first charter signatories are TED, Ikea, EY, BrewDog, Save the Children, WWF, EcoTricity, Forest Green Rangers FC, Oxfam, Business in the Community, B Corp UK, Albert, UN Global Compact UK, Greenhouse PE, The Big Issue, The Big Exchange, The One Campaign, BOND, Good Energy, Tumello, Ramboll UK, Protect Our Winters, Music Declares Emergency, Ninja Tunes, BAFTA, Octopus Energy, Ella’s Kitchen, Gong Communications, Forster Communications, Flooglebinder, Greenspace, TYF Adventure, TSIP, LEAP, On Purpose, Wasafiri, Full-Stop, Adam Smith International, Pentameter, Compare Your Footprint, House of Baukjen, Green Element, Maanch, Neighbourly, Coffee & TV, The Travel Collective, Triodos Bank, QuietRoom and Websummit.

Almost half (19) of the signatories are certified B-Corps. Also backing the Charter are Paris Agreement architect Christiana Figueres and COP26 High-Level Champion for Climate Action Nigel Topping.

Green finance news

The announcement comes at a busy time in the green finance discussion.

Earlier this week, 36 faith institutions to jointly committed to divesting from fossil fuels, stating that they have a moral imperative to help combat the climate crisis. Faith organisations are believed to represent more than one-third of commitments globally on fossil fuel divestment.

However, support for divestment is far from unanimous. For example, a shareholder resolution that would require the bank to align energy financing with the Paris Agreement failed to pass at Barclays earlier this month, securing just 14% of the shareholder vote. Similar resolutions are due for voting at HSBC soon.

Sarah George

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