Pension savers should be given transparent and readily-understandable answers when they ask if their money is being invested in line with their values, former Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said.
Mr Carney was speaking at a virtual net zero pension summit held by campaign organisation Make My Money Matter, which wants the trillions of pounds invested in pensions to help “build a better world”.
Mr Carney told the summit: “Investors, including pension funds, need to provide answers.
“Transparent, readily-understandable answers, for when their clients, people, ask whether their money is being invested in line with their values, in line with the transition to net zero. The challenge to the industry is to make a material and meaningful metric so that people can make their money matter.
“This campaign is a catalyst that the financial services sector and citizens need to support the transition.”
Mr Carney told pension fund representatives: “You are long-term investors, you have long-term liabilities, and therefore you are amongst the most vulnerable to the financial risks posed by climate change.”
He said funds also have an opportunity to be at the frontier in investing in “climate-resilient” infrastructure – and the sector is “hugely influential” in aligning others towards net zero objectives.
Mr Carney said: “Addressing climate change is an enormous commercial opportunity, achieving net zero requires a whole economy transition. That means every company, every bank, insurer, investor will have to adjust the business models.”
He added: “Any way you look at it, the opportunity is unprecedented. Now, thankfully, private finance is beginning to seize this opportunity.”
Film writer and director Richard Curtis, who co-founded the Make My Money Matter campaign, told the summit: “In a way I think I’m just representing the normal citizen.
“It’s definitely as much of a surprise to me as it may be to many of you that the person guilty of Mr Bean and Blackadder is involved in a campaign about pensions.
“But in fact it is I think extremely logical. I’ve spent 30 years trying to find a way to fight the great inequalities and injustices of the world and I’ve been through a journey I think many people have been on.”
Mr Curtis, who also co-founded Comic Relief, continued: “The world is really changing now, this has been an extraordinary year, because of Covid, obviously, but also this extraordinary rise in very strong public movements around the world – Black Lives Matter, Fridays for Future, Me Too movements, the women marches.
“And increasingly, I notice my children, you know, saying that apart from voting, and giving to charity, they ask: ‘What can I actually do in my daily life with my own resources to make change?'”
Mr Curtis said he had asked himself: “What’s my pension doing?”
He added: “The more I looked into it, the more exciting a line of action it seemed. Here’s the biggest chunk of my money, and it may be directly contradicting the things that I believe in and work for.
“And more than that, which Mark’s been talking about, think of the good that it could do if it was rightly applied, the exciting things that it could be invested in.”