Did you know? | Providing this employee benefit might be the most popular move you ever make

Providing this employee benefit might be the most popular move you ever makeProviding this employee benefit might be the most popular move you ever make
It has more of an impact on your carbon footprint than reducing flights, going vegan or driving an electric car – yet only a handful of companies in the UK have addressed this issue. Film director Richard Curtis is out to change that…

If the only thing you know about Richard Curtis is that he makes heart-warming, sometimes soppy and always humorous films, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of how the British film director and writer spends his time. As co-founder of Comic Relief and Red Nose Day, he’s been raising funds for those in need around the world since the 1980s.

But in the mid-2000s, Curtis realised that raising money and sending it where it needs to go is great – but what about making sure the money we spend and invest every day isn’t helping fund the powers that make this world a worse place to live. It’s not something people often stop to think about – what if that mutual fund that brings in steady income, or the pension that will protect you in your old age are going to companies that make weapons, engage in fracking, pollute our oceans, etc?

So in 2020, Curtis, along with a merry band of highly qualified do-gooders, founded Make My Money Matter – self-described as “a people-powered campaign which aims to give savers more voice and choice over their money so that their pension, investments, and bank align with their values and work to build a better world.”

As an employer, you can empower your employees by not only telling them about this, but also enabling them to be part of the change.

At HR Grapevine, we’ve written quite a bit about responsible pensions, including offering Sharia-compliant pensions (in a nutshell: no investments in gambling, war, tobacco or alcohol interests), and we knew our readers would be interested in how to make their pensions greener.

With that in mind, we spoke with Jacinta Dillon, Partnerships Manager at the Make My Money Matter (MMMM) campaign, who works with HR managers from FTSE 50 companies to SMEs who want to make sure their investment is ethical.

But ethical considerations aside – one of the best anecdotes she shared was about the CEO of a major music industry company, who told Curtis that making his company pensions greener has literally been “the one most popular things I've ever done with employees”. Powerful motivation, particularly in the era of talent retention struggles.

What does a green pension entail?

And more importantly, how can you check if yours isn’t or not?

First of all, and this is huge: according to MMMM’s research, ‘greening’ your pension is the most carbon-effective thing that companies can do – apparently 21 times more effective than cutting flying, going vegan and driving an electric car combined. We have not confirmed this claim, although the research was taken from ONS figures and calculated in partnership with insurance provider Aviva, and the calculations do seem pretty solid.

But switching pension providers is really costly, right? Do you have to switch providers to ‘green’ your pension? Dillon says no.

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