How to make sure your pension is ethical?

Journalist: Samantha Downes, Currently at the I (business editing some Sundays (freelance) and Mortgage Solutions

ended 18. May 2022

I'm writing a guide for inews readers (online and print)looking at what they can do to make sure their pension is invested ethically - whether it's a personal or company pension. What should they look for and what can they do?

3 responses from the Newspage community

"The obvious place to start is to choose your own funds. Don't rely on the default pension fund options, as typically these are not ethically focused ones. Pick an ethical or ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) alternative. Also, know to cut through the industry jargon. For example, ESG funds cover a lot more than specifically "ethical" considerations. They proactively try to influence positive behaviours and hence change. Remember "ethical" can be very subjective. I once had a client that required an "ethical" investment that did not invest in wind farms due to the damage they caused to migratory birds. As most funds at that time invested in green energy, of which windfarms were a key component, it was a difficult task."
"The simplest method is to invest in an 'ethical' fund. A fund will have strict guidelines as to what they can or cannot invest in to maintain its ethical status. Have a read through the objectives and find one which aligns with your beliefs."
"The first step would be to speak to your pension provider or adviser who may have this information. If you don't have an adviser and struggle to get the information from your pension provider, then you should look at the funds your currently hold. Funds that are specifically ethical normally make a point of telling people via their name or their fact sheets. Look for words like ethical, ESG, sustainable, etc. If you're not happy with your current funds, check if your scheme offers ethical alternatives. Remember, too, that, even if a fund isn't specifically ethical, it may well be that their current approach is actually quite ethical. You can use Morningstar, an independent fund research service, to assess a fund's ethical nature by checking its Morningstar Sustainability Rating."