The Great Barrier Reef, which is under threat from climate change effecting sea temperatures and water acidity.
The Great Barrier Reef, which is under threat from climate change effecting sea temperatures and water acidity.

How green pensions can help NGOs do better on climate change

As NGOs, we are working hard every day to build a better future for our planet and our society.

One of the most pressing global challenges we face is the climate crisis. As the gravity of our planet’s emergency sets in, we have made great collective efforts to become more sustainable as organisations and individuals. From cutting back on flying to driving less or becoming vegan, these commendable measures go some way to further the fight against climate change.

However, we have a hidden power at our disposal to save our planet – our pension schemes. Despite the good work carried out by NGOs across the UK and globe, our organisations’ pension investments may be harming the planet on our behalf.

There is currently £2.6tn circulating in the UK pension sector alone, much of which is invested in companies such as fossil fuel giants, tobacco firms, arms producers, or companies with links to harmful practices such as deforestation.

This leaves us in a predicament: the most passionate climate change campaigners are unknowingly funding companies that contribute to global warming and biodiversity loss, or lifelong vegetarians are investing in factory farming outlets.

Bond commits to going green with pensions

As NGOs, we have a responsibility to lead the way on ensuring our investments align with our values. That’s why Bond has signed up to Make My Money Matter’s Green Pension Charter, along with WWF, Oxfam and Save the Children. The charter commits organisations and brands across the UK to aligning their pension schemes with their values by going green.

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Organisations can change pension providers, as well as use more sustainable and ethical funds with their existing pension providers. At Bond, the move to new funds and pension providers was partly driven by staff’s desire to have their money invested in schemes that reflect the goals and values of the organisation. These same schemes can be competitive and geared toward the retirement needs of the staff. NGOs’ increased investment and engagement in sustainable pensions will help create a virtuous circle leading to more opportunities for green investment.

Make your money matter

Make My Money Matter, a people-powered campaign co-founded by acclaimed filmmaker and activist, Richard Curtis, wants to see as many of the UK’s major pension providers commit to net zero emissions across their portfolios by 2050 at the absolute latest. With COP26 hosted in Glasgow this year, the pensions industry is poised to demonstrate how we can leverage our immensely powerful financial services industry to put people and planet above profit.

The upcoming COP is also a huge opportunity for the UK to lead the way on climate justice on the world stage. Organisations such as Bond have an important role to play in mounting pressure on pension providers, so they take concrete action on climate to slow the pace of global warming.

If you want to take action on climate and align your organisation’s pension scheme with your values, you can also sign up to Make My Money Matter’s Green Pension Charter and commit to greening your scheme so that it works to build a world that is actually worth retiring into.