London, 11 January 2021: Sustainable living is on the rise - whether that’s recycling our household waste (71%), using less plastic (60%), or eating less meat (27%), the vast majority (94%) of Brits are taking small steps to reduce the impact their lifestyle is having on the environment.
- 94% of UK adults take steps to live a more sustainable lifestyle such as recycling, using less plastic or cutting back on meat consumption
- 1 in 5 (17%) couples argue about being wasteful, and almost a tenth (7%) bicker over single-use plastic usage
- But, 50% had no idea certain pension funds can be harmful to the planet, meaning their own finances could be contributing to causes that are damaging the environment
Those that recycle together, stay together
The new research, commissioned by leading online pension provider PensionBee, reveals we are even starting to judge potential partners on their green credentials. Two thirds (65%) of those polled said they would find someone less attractive if they didn’t care about the environment, and almost half (47%) admit that they row with their current partner over recycling, being wasteful and using single-use plastic. But despite this, it appears many of us are only considering what is directly in-front of us, and not how larger actions, such as our financial decisions, could be impacting the planet. Half (50%) of UK adults had no idea that certain pension funds can be harmful for the environment and just one in ten (10%) make an effort to invest sustainably.
When asked what they would do if they discovered their pension fund was invested in unsustainable companies, 29% would make steps to change where they are invested, with almost a quarter (24%) of young people (aged 18-34) feeling so strongly they would actively encourage others to leave that pension fund.
But, for the many (80%) Brits who are paying into a workplace pension which follows a default plan set up by their employer, only 1 in 10 (10%) has made amendments to specify where their savings are invested, meaning they could be contributing to causes that damage the environment.
When polled, almost half (48%) agree they would prefer their pension fund is invested sustainably to help drive positive change, yet just 14% take any responsibility for managing their own pension savings. Given the choice, 47% would continue to leave it up to their employer and pension provider to make decisions on their behalf, meaning their pension savings could be invested into oil, gas or coal reserves, tobacco companies and even manufacturers of controversial weapons unless they specify otherwise.
To give people the option to invest their hard-earned money sustainably and in line with their values, PensionBee has launched a new Fossil Fuel Free Plan.
Romi Savova, CEO of PensionBee, commented: “Our research clearly shows a united desire for people to live more sustainably, yet despite making conscious decisions in our everyday lives, some people aren’t considering how life’s bigger choices, such as how they invest their money, may be impacting the planet. At PensionBee, we believe sustainable investing is the future of engagement with pensions and that everyone should have the option of using their investments for good. As such, we campaigned hard to prove to the pensions industry that there was consumer demand for a mainstream fossil fuel free plan. We hope this is just the start of all savers using their investment power to transform the world they live in - for the better of the planet, society and their retirement.”
Created in partnership with Legal & General Investment Management, the PensionBee Fossil Fuel Free Plan is one of the first mainstream funds of its kind to completely exclude fossil fuel producers, tobacco companies, manufacturers of controversial weapons and persistent violators of the UN Global Compact.
Lucy Siegle, environmental journalist commented: “People feel increasingly connected to nature and are more likely than ever to demand action on the climate and nature crises. But when it comes to our own money, we still haven’t made the connection: our financial decisions have a huge impact on the health of the planet and only one in ten of us has taken steps to invest our own money sustainably. We urgently need a bigger conversation and more sustainable investment options. That’s why I am thrilled by PensionBee’s launch of the Fossil Fuel Free Plan. It’s a giant leap forward and I hope more in the industry will follow PensionBee’s lead.”
The new plan is PensionBee’s third responsible investing option, from a total of nine plans currently on offer to consumers. It joins the Future World Plan, which invests money into companies that pledge to move to an environmentally friendly economy, utilising an ‘engagement with consequences’ approach, and the Shariah Plan which only invests in Shariah-compliant companies.