Make My Money Matter brings together influential voices at COP26 to highlight the power of green pensions

Photo of Richard Curtis.

Filmmaker Richard Curtis launches the 21x club at COP26, bringing together key voices on climate and the environment.

Make My Money Matter, a people-powered campaign founded by filmmaker and activist Richard Curtis, today announces the launch of its 21x Club. This new initiative brings together a range of influential voices to help highlight the power of our pensions in tackling climate change.

With £2.6 trillion in UK schemes alone, pensions have a critical role in shaping our world. But limited public engagement, poor transparency and destructive investment practices mean that too much of this money is invested in ways which damage the planet, jeopardise member returns and run against the values of UK savers.

The 21x Club will work to address these challenges by taking the power of our pensions mainstream through a range of high-profile voices. The 21x club is inspired by research conducted by Make My Money Matter, Route2 and Aviva which revealed that greening your pension is 21x more effective at cutting your carbon footprint than stopping flying, going vegetarian and switching to a green energy provider combined.

Make My Money Matter will host the members of its 21x club at COP26 in Glasgow today. Members span a range of sectors, from the creative industries, to business, finance, climate, and activism. Its mix of supporters includes the likes of Peter Capaldi, Kelly Macdonald, Stephen Fry and Christiana Figueres – Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – all of whom have come together to highlight the power of pensions in tackling the climate crisis.

Since Make My Money Matter launched in 2020, £800 billion of UK pension money has been committed to robust net zero, as pension schemes begin to acknowledge the critical role they must play in tackling climate change. However, there is still almost £2 trillion in funds that have yet to align with the Paris Climate Agreement – a deal struck six years ago – with most large UK schemes yet to act.

The 21x Club will therefore kick off a new drive to make sure all members of the public can access a green pension. In doing so, it aims to turbo-charge efforts to green the UK pension industry and ensure everyone has a pension they can be proud of.

Richard Curtis, Co-Founder at Make My Money Matter commented:

“Across the world, there’s $50 trillion invested through our pensions. Just imagine what that money could achieve. Clean energy, affordable housing, medical research and more. A host of businesses and new technologies which help tackle the climate crisis, not fuel the fire. Investments which combat inequality and injustice, and help build a more sustainable, resilient economy.

“That’s why I’m so delighted to help launch the 21x Club – a group of passionate, imaginative leaders and organisations each committed to using the hidden superpower of our pensions to build this better world. COP26 presents our last best hope to tackle the climate crisis, and our money must be at the heart of those efforts.

“The 21x Club will help show the public just how powerful their pensions can be, and inspire a generation to make their money matter. That way everyone, everywhere, can have a pension to be proud of, and we all can have a world worth retiring into.”

Stephen Fry, Author, Writer and Presenter supporting the campaign said:

“If you had asked me a year or so ago how a normal person could most affect climate change, I suspect that changing one’s pension would have come very low down on my guest list – well below committing to eat less roast beef or buying a new bicycle. 

“But it does indeed turn out that we can make our money matter. It’s something of a magic bullet. If we stop investing in fossil fuels or gambling, and instead invest in businesses that are going to change the world. 

“The size of this concept is shocking – trillions and trillions of cold hard cash that could be working every day to fight climate change.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change commented:

Every pension counts – but here is the trick. Because of the time value of carbon, a green pension today is much more valuable than a green pension tomorrow. So let’s get on with it and make our money truly matter.

Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva commented:

”There can be no question that money talks. Indeed, investing responsibly is one of the most powerful tools to have personal positive impact. I’ve seen first-hand the power of money to do good. Wherever the real asset owners – the end beneficiaries – demand change, the power can be incredible. Great to see Make My Money Matter make yet another great intervention. The 21x club will wake people up to the power of their money and help citizen investors change the world.”

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