Pensions: the quiet perpetrator of ecocide

Tierney Smith
Investment services are going unaccounted for in the fight against climate crisis, but with awareness comes action.

Millions of people around the world went on strike for the climate this September. It was galvanising to see such a huge demonstration of support for tackling the climate crisis.

But while it was encouraging to see political systems under a bright spotlight, another system is left unscrutinised in the battle to save our planet. We have no chance of meeting the Paris goals if the investment system is working against us.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest components of this system is our pension savings. They are invested in companies by our pension providers and prop up many of the companies who are destroying the climate. They can and should be building a climate just world.

Investment system

The investment system plays a crucial role in providing finance to the companies which dominate our economy. The very same companies who have a significant impact on the climate emergency. Investors’ decisions about where and how to invest are reflected in the world that we see around us. It’s no coincidence that we’re speeding into a climate crisis when only 10 of the top 100 pension providers have their investment portfolios aligned with the Paris goals.

It’s easy to feel powerless when thinking about the workings of the investment system. It feels abstract, distant, and is a world full of jargon. But we don’t have to relate to it in this way.

Luckily, we have an in. The pension that you’re saving for and paying into isn’t sat quietly in a vault waiting for you to retire. Quite the opposite, it’s invested in companies that create the products and services we interact with day to day. Your pension isn’t just a number on a screen, it creates the tea you drink and the train station you commute into. It also creates a lot of things you’ll almost certainly be unhappy with. MORE