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How climate change could impact your pension

Climate change is the fight of our lives. We’re fast reaching the point of no return causing irreversible damage to nearly every aspect of our lives.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

From food shortages to property damage to higher prices and smaller pensions, every degree that global temperature rises will come at a cost to our lives, the economy and the environment. This isn't something we can tackle on an individual level. Governments and businesses around the world must take action now if something is to change.

We’re doing our part to limit global warming with our new climate change policy and are proud to be among the first UK pension providers to commit to transitioning to a net zero carbon strategy.

What are we facing?

Climate models indicate that the world’s temperature is likely to increase above 4C by the end of this century if things don’t change. This doesn’t just threaten the quality of our day-to-day lives. It’s a risk to virtually every sector of business and the wider economy itself.

Scientists believe that our best hope is to drastically reduce carbon emissions now, limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5C above the level it was at the start of the modern industrial era. This is what most countries in the world have committed to in the Paris Agreement.

How will it affect you?

The economy and the environment are so closely linked that if we don’t act, the UK could see huge changes by the end of the century:

Icons representing London tempreature 48c, cities like York could be 40% likely to flood and icon showing how Puffin numbers have dropped by 42%.

As could the rest of the world:

An apple icon showing increase in food pricing by 15%, a globe icon showing 100m people puched into poverty around the world, and an icon of 2 people showing 140 million people forced to become climate migrants.

All this could significantly impact whether companies can make profits in the future, shrinking your pension pot while raising your costs of living.

Climate change won’t just affect your financial health either. Pollutants linked to climate change are known to cause cancer, asthma, strokes and heart disease, and air pollution alone causes 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.

How can I help make a change?

You already are, along with over 9 million other Nest members. As a pension saver, you’re a stakeholder in global financial markets. Your Nest pension savings are held in everything from the world’s biggest companies to sectors like food or transport.

And it’s your pension that gives you power.

We manage over £12 billion on behalf of members like you. By changing how this money is invested, we stand a chance of changing how businesses and industries around the world operate. That’s why our new climate change policy matters.

You’re not alone in wanting to build a better world.

  • 68% of UK savers want their investments to consider people and planet alongside profits
  • three quarters of Nest members say responsible investment is important to them
  • 71% of Brits would opt for a fully or partially sustainable pension if they had the choice

Providers that don’t take climate change into account risk more than your money. They risk your future.

Here’s what we’re doing

Helping you save for the future shouldn’t come at the cost of your quality of life in retirement. Here’s how we’re supporting our members’ needs now as well as in later life.

An icon showing windmills representing making our portfolio greener, icon showing 2 people shaking hands representing the Paris climate agreement, icon showing 2 people talking about business, and icon showing a speaker phone, showing that we will use our voive to influence public policy.

That means we'll:

  • transition our portfolio to the 1.5C global warming limit
  • put more money into renewables and green technology
  • encourage businesses we invest in to act sustainably
  • reduce how much money goes to the biggest greenhouse gas polluters
  • stop investing in the most harmful fossil fuels
  • work to reduce our portfolio’s impact on nature and biodiversity
  • stop working with companies and fund managers that aren’t aligned with the Paris Agreement
  • partner with non-profit campaigners like Climate Action 100+ to address environmental issues and encourage businesses to change
  • lobby for the UK pensions sector to be more transparent about its contribution to climate change

We’re one of the first UK pension providers to commit to these standards but it shouldn’t stop with us. By the end of 2018, UK pension savers collectively invested £6.1 trillion in the global economy. If money talks, that amount of money shouts – and we want to encourage our fellow providers to make climate change a priority too.

Our commitment to you

A lot of hard work has gone into researching how climate change will affect our members' money, and how to protect your pot. You’ll find all the details in our climate change policy.

Last updated: 29/07/20