Cushon, the fintech workplace savings disrupter, today announces the launch of the world’s first net zero pension.
The launch responds to growing demand from employees who are increasingly concerned about the impact of their pensions on climate change. Recent research from Cushon showed that 68.6% of employees are concerned that their company pension could be investing in businesses that are contributing to the climate crisis. 87.9% of employees want their employer to take action to address this, for instance moving to a pension provider that’s making a positive impact on climate change (39.8%).
Choosing to use a climate-friendly pension provider is an easy way for businesses to significantly reduce their employees’ contribution to global warming. Cushon’s Net Zero pension will enable employers to help their people contribute to the deceleration of climate change quickly, easily and meaningfully via the choices they make for their company pension. In so doing, they will help to protect our environment and align towards the Paris Climate Agreement and a 1.5 degree world.
Cushon’s pension is the first of its kind in that it is Net Zero now – not later – unlike competitors in the market adopting long-reaching targets to achieve the same status by 2030 or even 2050.
Each year, the average UK pension member unknowingly finances 23 tonnes of CO2 emissions through the businesses their pension invests in. That’s the equivalent of running either nine family cars each year, using 940 gas propane cylinders, or burning 1,100 coal fires annually, simply as a by-product of saving for retirement. Investors would need to recycle for 19 years, or plant 30 acres of new forest to counteract these effects.
While there are a number of pension investment funds claiming to be socially responsible, these funds often come with higher charges and are still a long way away from being net zero – a target set by the UK Government to be met by 2050. Cushon’s pension is Net Zero right from the get-go.
A big plus for employers is that a move to a Net Zero pension would also increase employee engagement rates. Cushon’s research shows that 62.4% would engage more with their pension if they knew it was making a positive impact on climate change. To further boost engagement, Cushon is also launching a new app which allows members to see all their pensions, other savings and investments in one place. It’s fully transactional, and employees can change contributions and transfer in other pension and investment pots.
Commenting on the launch, Ben Pollard, Founder & CEO, Cushon, said: “At Cushon, we know that people want their retirement savings to help tackle climate change without sacrificing returns. We wanted to find a very real way of making this work by delivering a pension that is Net Zero now. By choosing a Net Zero pension, employers are helping their employees have a direct and significant impact on climate change. The demand that we have already seen for our Net Zero pension is testament to this and we are now working towards being able to offer the same philosophy through our other product offerings. We’re so excited to be able to bring all of these products together so that our customers can see and manage all their investments together in an intuitive and engaging user interface.
“The idea of Net Zero investing is shamefully poorly developed within the fund management industry. We work with three of the largest fund managers in the world, and only one of them was even able to tell us the CO2 emission levels of their funds. To ensure there is no impact on returns, having reduced the emissions financed by the funds as far as possible via solutions that are currently available ‘off the shelf’ from our fund managers, Cushon is paying to offset any residual emissions out of the company’s own money. We have worked with Vertree to select a range of Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) projects, with 75% of projects being triple, double or single gold rated under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard.”
Supporting the launch, Richard Curtis, Co-Founder of Make My Money Matter, said: “The launch of a pension that is net zero now – not later – shows what is possible from the pensions industry when tackling the climate emergency is taken seriously. This new pension, with robust sustainability credentials, will be the first of its kind and so we are delighted to partner with Cushon as they continue to integrate environmental criteria across the board.
“This is the kind of leadership that the pension industry – and world – needs in the years ahead as we look to transition to a green economy post Covid-19. With COP26 taking place in Glasgow next year, all eyes are set to be on the UK and its environmental credentials, so it is great to have firms like Cushon taking concrete steps to address the climate crisis, which should hopefully incentivise more providers across the industry to follow suit.”