Social Justice

The Secret Life of Pensions

Photo by Huy Phan on Unsplash

Over the last six years, UK companies have had to start automatically enrolling their employees into workplace pension funds, it has been a steady rollout and one that you would have thought would have had us rejoicing. The problem is that all of us new pension holders are not being told what happens to that money whilst it’s sitting around waiting for us. Your money is being invested and you have no knowledge of where that money, your money, is going or who your money is funding. Pension funds are huge stakeholders in many of the largest corporations in the world, such as Shell, BAE Systems and British American Tobacco, and it is more than likely that you are unwittingly funding corporations you would not choose to.

ShareAction started as a movement to give voice to those with a pension. They wanted companies to hear from people who want their money to invest in a more sustainable future, and to help companies understand that being entrusted with people’s money comes with the responsibility to see that it is invested in their interests, not just financially but also ethically. It turns out that if you ask people who they’d like to invest in then oil, arms and tobacco are rarely the top choices, whoever would have guessed it?!

ShareAction have had great success helping pension funds transition into responsible investors, and since they started they have broadened their reach into tackling other corporate investments behaviour. They now run many campaigns, such as helping companies transfer to using renewable energy and promoting supply chain transparency, but they are still working hard to encourage pension funds to become responsible investors, investing in a better future for us all. They have a simple step-by-step pack you can download to help you find out for yourself what your money is getting up to without your consent, it’s easy to follow and when you do it we all benefit.

 

About the author

Clare Fitton

Clare is a human rights graduate and activist currently living in London. Being a firm believer in the carrot over the stick she is convinced that highlighting those who excel will incentivise others to improve their practices, so she spends her time looking for the game-changers out there.

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