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Cushon unveils net-zero pension plan

Source: Cushon

Cushon, the fintech workplace savings disrupter, today announces that it has launched the world’s first net zero pension.

Cushon’s pension is the first of its kind in that it is Net Zero now - not later - unlike competitors in the market who have long-reaching targets to achieve the same by 2030 or even 2050. The fund will have a management fee of just 0.15%, while offering highly competitive returns without sacrificing performance.

Cushon’s Net Zero pension will enable people to slow down climate change quickly, easily and meaningfully via the choices they make for their pension helping to protect our environment and align towards the Paris Climate Agreement and a 1.5 degree world.

Each year, the average UK pension member unwittingly 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. To counteract this you would need to recycle for 19 years, or plant 30 acres of new forest.

While there are a number of pension investment funds that claim 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. Not in 30 years, not in 15 years, but now.

The launch will also cater to growing demand in the market, as employees become increasingly concerned with the impact of their finances. Cushon’s recent research shows that 68.6% of employees are concerned that their company pension could be investing in businesses that are contributing to climate change. 48.2% of employees would like the option to invest their pension in businesses that do not contribute to climate change and 39.8% would like their employer to move to a pension provider that is making a positive impact on climate change.

Choosing to use a climate-friendly pension provider is an easy way for businesses to significantly reduce their employees’ contribution to global warming, taking a huge step towards protecting the environment we live in.

Commenting on the launch, Ben Pollard, Founder & CEO, Cushon, said: “In 1995, the average carbon emissions per capita in the UK were 9.3 tonnes[4]. Over the last 25 years we have actively managed to get this down to 5.6 tonnes, yet the way we invest our pension pots remains relatively unchanged and finances nearly four times our personal emissions. All this effort to reduce our carbon footprints by recycling and taking more responsibility in the way we live our lives, only to still significantly contribute to global warming through retirement saving.

“At Cushon, we know that people want their retirement saving 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. Not in 30 years, not in 15 years, but 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.”

“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.

“This is just the start of the journey for us and we intend to do much more to eliminate CO2 emissions financed by the fund over the next 12 months”

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.”

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