Ethical workplace

Why I wish young people like me were automatically opted into an ethical workplace pension

I started working at High-Rise last year, which brought the first opportunity I’ve had to get a workplace pension.

Before that I had very little knowledge of how a pension worked or what they are invested in. It was shocking to find out how significantly they can contribute to so many issues that I try not to support such as fossil fuels, nuclear weapons and tobacco.

What I’ve learned about ethical pensions

As a young person I grew up in a very eco-conscious environment. Always recycling and taking public transport where I could, it was surprising to find my pension didn’t automatically support anything I grew up to support.

I had no idea how I could choose to make my Nest workplace pension ethical. Our team found this out through a consultation arranged by leading impact investment advisers Path Financial.

When shown by Path Financial what the average pension is invested in I was shocked with what I saw, and knew I didn’t want to contribute to that.

I am more welcoming of environmental policies compared to others, who may be more sceptical. 

If my pension was automatically invested in an ethical fund, I be very happy and wouldn’t have changed it. This is a policy I wish was in place, comparable to automatically opting into organ donating.

I believe that other young people would also support this opt out system. This would mean you would have to go out of your way to invest in less ethical funds.

We should automatically enrole into an ethical pension

Since our learning session with Path Financial, I’ve switched my Nest workplace pension to an ethical choice. It’s really easy to do – anyone with a Nest pension can choose to do it.

Having seen how easy and simple it is to swap to a green pension, I am looking at further steps I can take to be more ethical with my money. Promoting this to my peers is very important to me too. I’m glad to have switched to an ethical fund and want to recommend this so my friends can also be green with their money.

Most of my peers are around the same age as me and didn’t know about green pensions or what they meant. We all have shared values that we all aspire to contribute towards, including helping our planet. It is upsetting that more employers and educators do not speak more about how we can invest our money ethically.

Even just a small amount of research shows the benefits of investing in green funds. It was an easy decision for me to switch to a green pension. With not as much money invested in my pension as my colleagues, it was a simple move. Starting out how I mean to go on is a great way to continue being as ethical as I can be.

This is why I am questioning why our pensions are not automatically enrolled in ethical funds. Those who choose not to invest ethically and actively want to support damaging industries can move their pension back to this fund. However, I believe most people would keep their pension in an ethical fund.

I believe this would create more conversation around ethical funds. This would also encourage people to investigate what their pensions are contributing towards. Spending time looking at your pension and where it should be invested should be a priority. Especially if you share the values of wanting to be part of an ethical workplace. 

To find out more about the ethical clients we support and how we could help your business, read more here.