The world currently operates on the language and value of money. Royalty-free picture courtesy of


In This Post 


The Mighty and Powerful Grey Pound 

The total private pension wealth in Great Britain is £6.1 trillion.


Where are your savings invested?

Is your pension or savings being used to heal or harm the planet?


Make My Money Matter Campaign

A charity for the UK pensions industry to build a better world.


How Green is Your Pension Provider?

Find out from Make My Money Matter.




Good, bad and ugly ways of investing

Will going financially Green make me poorer?


A Final Thought

Sustainable pensions can be more powerful than eating less meat and flying less combined.



In Part 1 of the, You Can Have Whatever You Want… series we looked at the role of the Media to keep the climate emergency at the front and centre of awareness and action.

If you missed part 1 see it here.


Part 2 

The basis of this post is a look at how the use of money either helps or hinders the climate emergency. Any government of any political persuasion will have to decide how and where our taxes and borrowing is spent and invested. Also as individuals, we have choices where we spend our money. A current example might be, do you opt for an electric vehicle? Similarly, perhaps a hybrid type of car may best suit our needs for the moment. Those of us who are older potentially have pensions and savings. Our collective pot of money is vast and is used by private pensions investment managers to pay our pensions. However, how and where our savings are invested needs to be looked at with a view to what you the customer value most. Is long-term resilient sustainable growth or the highest short-term gain, your investment goal?


This post refers to private pensions and savings where you have control over where your money is invested. If you have an occupational pension you may not have a choice of fund type. If your private pension is administered by an independent financial advisor (IFA) there is a possibility that they are making fund choices for you. If your IFA offers an annual pension review session, the topics below may be relevant to chat about then.


It would be great if this post raises your interest in knowing where your money is invested and if it’s helping to quell or ignite the climate emergency.

Copyright-free image from

The Mighty and Powerful Grey Pound

The total private pension wealth in Great Britain was £6.1 trillion from April 2016 to March 2018 (42% of total wealth), up from £3.6 trillion (34% of total wealth) in July 2006 to June 2008, after adjusting for inflation.    

Source – UK Office for National Statistics December 2019



Where Is Your Pension or Savings Invested?

That £6.1 trillion is a huge source of money used by pensions funds, insurance companies and saving managers. Where the fund managers decide to invest your money is critical to how you get what you want. Net-Zero Carbon by 2050 means every investment fund must be viewed through the lens of – is this prospective investment adding or reducing Carbon Dioxide in the air?  This type of financial thinking is still in its infancy and will be discussed at COP 26 in November 2021.


Well done to Legal and General Investment Management who have a name and shame policy for those companies on the wrong side of treating the planet with respect.

  • Aviva sets a new 2050 net-zero target for its own auto-enrolment default pension funds.
  • New research shows significant support for the net-zero pensions target, with support particularly strong amongst those due to retire in the 2050s.
  • 59% of people think it’s important that pension funds become net zero by 2050.
  • Two thirds (66%) of millennials believe that government should make pension schemes achieve net-zero carbon emission status by 2050.
  • 95% of pension scheme members remain in default funds that have traditionally taken little account of climate change.

Source Aviva PLC

The Make My Money Matter Campaign

The Make My Money Matter Campaign is cofounded by Richard Curtis (right) he is known for having co-written the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr Bean, and The Vicar of Dibley. Curtis together with Sir Lenny Henry are co-founders and co-creators of Comic Relief, Red Nose Day and Make Poverty History.


The Make My Money Matter charity is creating a movement calling for the trillions of pounds invested in our UK pensions to build a better world.

See this 2-minute video about how your pension investment choices now can build a sustainable future.

How Green is Your Pension Provider?

Find out from Make My Money Matter here

Green pension planning should be a two-way conversation between the client and advisor

Good, bad and ugly ways of investing to reduce the Climate Emergency

We are approaching a tipping point where the money markets see a profit for them in the change to a decarbonised economy. Public and political opinion is changing from short-term intransigence to we must do this now. There is a link between what large and small investors value and want, and where investments are made. The market can provide what Green-ish investors want if they know what it is. A recent survey suggested 68% of UK pension contributors want Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds. This type of fund investment has been around for a number of years and is growing in popularity. 



“The pen might be mightier than the sword,

but the purse is mightier than the pen.”

George Monbiot


You may be thinking, what about ESG fund performance? Will going financially Green make me poorer? The long-term trend for the pension industry is to de-risk and move money into ESG funds. I see there are three reasons for this:

  1. There is less financial risk (climate risk = financial risk) in ESG funds
  2. ESG funds are optimised for long-term resilience and efficient returns
  3. Increasingly, customers want to buy them.


3 potential strategies for investing a savings pot with an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA)


Set out below are a few thoughts about having a pension to be proud of and the idea of starting the conversation with your IFA. None of this post constitutes financial advice in any form. It’s about asking relevant questions to enable you to make an informed choice of how your money is used.


It must be said that everybody with a private pension will have variations on the theme of how their savings are invested. There is not a one-size-fits-all process here. Nevertheless, everybody has the right to know how and where their money is being used.


Sorting out where your savings are invested is urgent and important for the climate emergency. Picture below courtesy of

1 Net-Zero & ESG Funds

Firstly, your money could do good for the planet by being invested through a pensions or savings company signed up to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative combined with an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy.


The Net-Zero Investment Initiative is very new and needs to flourish if we stand any chance of a real change to our global industrial society.


The Net-Zero Initiative signatories (announced December 2020) commit to “implement a stewardship and engagement strategy, with a clear escalation and voting policy, that is consistent with the ambition for all assets under management to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner”.

2 ESG Funds

Secondly, you could make investments based on an ESG Policy alone. An ESG plan generally excludes the following types of investment classes:

  • Gambling, gaming casinos or equivalent
  • Tobacco or tobacco-related products
  • Pornography or prostitution
  • Hazardous chemicals, pesticides and wastes
  • Ozone-depleting substances – E.g. CFC’s formerly used as aerosol & refrigerant gases
  • Forced, or harmful child labour
  • Endangered or protected wildlife or wildlife products
  • Arms i.e., weapons, munitions designated for military purposes
  • Unbonded asbestos fibres or radioactive materials

Note Fossil Fuels are not in the list of excluded asset classes.


I note the Royal Photographic Society, through its Climate Change Working Group has recently recommended the transfer of investments into an ESG investment plan.

3 Neither Net-Zero or ESG Funds

Thirdly, and lastly through a company not operating a Net-Zero or ESG policy. This option means your savings could be wholly invested in any combination of the bad things noted above.


Our Independent Financial Advisors need to be updated with our value’s and what we expect of them and their industry. If we want our savings and pensions to be invested in the race to Net-Zero Carbon then our IFA’s need to know.


“The future is ours to create: it will be shaped by who we choose to be in the coming years.”

Christiana Figueres

Former UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change in Paris 2015

Additional Resources 

The Martin Lewis Money Show – Pensions Special is available for a short time on the ITV Hub. Search for Martin Lewis and look out for Episode 19. This is general information not specially about types of investment.

A Final Passing Thought

Making your pension sustainable can be many, up to 27 times more powerful at cutting your carbon footprint than giving up flying and becoming a vegan combined!

Source – Make My Money Matter

As a suggestion, it’s worth asking your IFA or pension provider what percentage of your money is invested in ways to put out the climate emergency fire and leave a sustainable economy and biodiversity to our children and grandchildren.

If you are over 50 and have a personal or occupational pension, Pensionwise is a free government advice service. Find out what your options are without being scammed or ripped off by unscrupulous fraudsters. Again, this is general information not specially about types of investment. 

Picture courtesy of


In Part 3 we will look at “What Can I Do to Reduce My Carbon Footprint in 2021?”