Public unaware that more than £20bn in UK pensions invested in Shell

Major UK pension schemes are planning to vote against directors at Shell on climate grounds, with research claiming that more than £20bn from UK pensions has been invested into the energy company.

Public unaware that more than £20bn in UK pensions invested in Shell

Shell set a net-zero target for 2050 and has faced scrutiny over the credibility of its decarbonisation plans

Analysis from Make My Money has found that the average UK pension invests more than £900 into Shell. However, polling of UK citizens from Make My Money has revealed that 58% have no idea where their money is invested and that more than eight million UK pension holders do not want their savings funneled into fossil fuel firms and projects.

Ahead of the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday (23 May), major UK pension schemes are set to confirm plans to vote against the energy company’s directors for failing to take sufficient action on the climate crisis.

Make My Money Matter’s chief executive Tony Burdon said that the pension industry had the “power to change” how Shell operates and limits expansion on oil and gas.

“The pensions industry is adamant that only through engagement can they really make a change in how fossil fuel companies act. Well, now is the moment for it to put its money where its mouth is,” Burdon said.

“That’s why Make My Money Matter is calling on the industry to finally flex its muscles in boardrooms this AGM season and vote to make Shell and its polluting peers do better, to protect members savings and our planet.  Because you can’t claim to be a leader on climate but continue to support the directors of companies who are driving fossil fuel expansion.”

As Shell celebrates record profits of almost £10bn, many UK pension schemes look set to vote against the company’s directors.

Nest, the UK’s largest pension scheme with 12 million members and £29bn in assets under management, will vote against the re-election of Shell’s Chair and its ‘Energy Transition’ resolution. The resolution commits Shell to reduce absolute emissions from its operations and the energy it uses by 50% by 2030, compared with 2016 on a net basis.

Nest will also voice support for a resolution filed by FollowThis, calling on Shell to update its climate targets to align with the Paris Agreement. Shell claims it “supports the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement”, which is to limit the rise in global average temperature this century to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Elsewhere, London CIV, controlling assets under management worth £48.9bn, will vote against the company’s Chair and directors later this month. This vote will be supported by investment advisors PIRC, which has called on investors to vote against the re-election of Shell’s chair Sir Andrew MacKenzie in efforts to hold board members accountable for inaction on climate.

Earlier this year, ClientEarth announced that it had filed a lawsuit against 11 Shell directors at England’s High Court. The aim is to get the company to set out a more ambitious and coherent strategy to reduce emissions.

ClientEarth issued the case by arguing that Shell is breaching the UK Companies Act. The Act compels listed businesses to adequately manage risks facing the company, which ClientEarth argues includes climate-related risks, including physical, transition and reputational risks. It calls these risks “material and foreseeable” for Shell.

The case was rejected earlier this month, but ClientEarth has since been granted an oral hearing to ask the Judge to reconsider the decision.

ClientEarth has a token shareholding in Shell only but has garnered the support of several of the Anglo-Dutch energy major’s other shareholders for its campaign. They include pension funds London CIV, Nest, Danica Pension, AP Pension and AP3; plus asset managers Sanso IS, Danske Bank Asset Management and Degroof Petercam. In total, the institutional investors supporting ClientEarth’s efforts here hold more than 10 million Shell shares.

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    But the pension funds need profits in order to pay the pensions!!
    Perhaps Client Earth would be happy to live with the only energy resources either renewables or nuclear. the former are variable and unreliable, the latter are unbuilt to a level required to replace fossil fuel.
    Rome was not, indeed could not, be built in a day, even by Client Earth.
    Reality strikes again.

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