Many Hands Make Light Work
Why it’s the common man and their pension who will drive environmental change
While Cop26 was partly a success it did help to put environmental, social and governance (ESG) on many people’s agenda, the question on many people’s lips remains, ‘can we rely on national governments, corporations or even some of those high-profile celebrities (many of whom flew in on their private jets) to stand by their environmental promises long term’?
A recent survey from investment company Aegon of 10,000 Brits found that 72% of respondents were concerned about environmental issues, 61% worrying about equality, and 65% having concerns about poor corporate governance practices. However, this is countered by the fact that 55% are not aware of or don’t understand the terms ‘responsible investment’, ‘sustainable investment’ or ‘ESG investing’.
Our view, and quoting a proverb by John Haywood from 1546, although its origins date back to ancient Romans and Greeks: Many hands make light work.
Rather than relying on a few individuals to bring about change, we need to empower the nation to bring about change, and the most powerful resource that is available is the £2.6 trillion pounds already owned by us in UK pension schemes.
While much of this money is currently under the stewardship of trustees who make investment decisions on our behalf, a whopping £100bn is already invested in Auto-Enrolment schemes by 8 million members and 720,000 employers.
At Collegia, our mission is to empower both employers and members to use their collective voice to bring about the much-needed change. This is why we launched the UK’s only 100% ESG pension in September 2021; technology which was developed in Oxford.
Our goal is to get as many businesses as possible – and their employees – adopting ESG investments. But, key to the success, is accessibility, so members are able to take control, and this necessitates 24/7 App-based access to their pension. When most of the pensions industry still relies on a paper annual statement, this is a genuine watershed moment.
Collegia provides this technology to both employers and members and, like most innovations, it’s cheaper and more robust than current providers.
The good news is that ESG investments have also witnessed strong financial returns over recent years, so not only can the ‘many hands’ bring about change, they can also do it in a way that should also be good for their pockets.