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Our Pensions, Our Planet: It’s Time to Invest in Our Shared Future

Our pensions should be invested to build the stable, just future we all deserve. But currently, these funds are financing the very oil and gas giants who are profiting from the destruction of our planet.

No matter where we come from or what we do, most of us want to know that the money we put away for the future is being used for good. But the reality is that the savings that many of us contribute to pensions are actually invested in expanding fossil fuel projects that put our stable future at risk.

In the last quarter, Shell invested 5 times as much in fossil fuels ($3bn) and distributed 7 times ($5bn) as much to shareholders as it invested in “Renewables and Energy Solutions” ($659mn).
In the last quarter, Shell invested 5 times as much in fossil fuels ($3 billion) and distributed 7 times as much ($5 billion) to shareholders as it invested in “Renewables and Energy Solutions” ($659 billion).

While most of us care deeply about tackling climate change, it’s likely that many are unaware that pension money is funding the very oil and gas giants profiting from the destruction of our planet. Shockingly, UK pension funds invest £88 billion in fossil fuel corporations like Shell and BP—that’s 10 times more than they put into renewable energy.

“Shockingly, UK pension funds invest £88 billion in fossil fuel corporations like Shell and BP – that’s 10 times more than they invest in renewable energy.”

This problematic investment is allowed to continue because politicians fail to implement proper safeguards to prevent our savings from causing harm. They enable pension funds to channel money to big oil corporations drilling in our seas and clearcutting ancient forests.

The truth is, keeping retirement savings tied to fossil fuels is a risky gamble. As we rapidly transition to clean energy, there’s a real chance these dirty fuel assets will be left stranded. We’ve already seen stocks tumble for firms like Shell.

We have the power to ensure our pensions build the future we hope to retire into. A first step is finding out where your pension is invested and switching providers if needed. But we also require government action to steer finance away from polluting projects that destabilise our climate and communities.

“We have the power to make sure our pensions build the future we want to retire into. But it starts with all of us demanding better.”

Taking a closer look, we see contradictions in how pensions are invested under current systems. On one hand, working people diligently pay portions of their hard-earned wages into pension funds, expecting secure returns. Yet the finance system exploits these savings to further enrich fossil fuel elites, destroying the planet for profit.

While pension funds pursue maximum returns above all, this short-term thinking erodes long-term stability. A just transition would democratise investment to better serve social needs, moving capital out of destructive industries and into renewable energy. This builds a sustainable economy where finance serves people and the planet rather than just capitalist greed.

Ultimately, tackling the climate crisis comes down to choice. We can continue lining the pockets of oil and gas giants while our communities suffer. Or we can invest in affordable renewable energy solutions that provide jobs and energy security. Our pensions ought to contribute to the development of a secure, promising future based on clean energy. But it starts with all of us demanding better.


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