Our organisation exists to help young people get involved in tackling the climate crisis, and to have to pay our pensions into a scheme that invests in companies that are driving this crisis seemed scarcely believable.
I strongly believe that people would make more ethical choices if they knew and understood where their pension money was invested so wholeheartedly support this campaign.Henry Greenwood, Founder, Green Schools Project
Q&A with green schools project
Tell us about your organisation
Green Schools Project works with schools to help them to address the climate and ecological crisis. We support them to set up Eco-Teams to run student-led projects, provide teacher training to help them include climate and the natural world into the curriculum and support them to reduce their carbon emissions. We are a small organisation of just 2 people!
Why did you choose to become a pledge partner?
As a fairly new organisation, it was only a couple of years ago that I was looking for a workplace pension scheme and I was shocked that there wasn’t a simple auto-enrolment scheme that didn’t have any investment in fossil fuels. Our organisation exists to help young people get involved in tackling the climate crisis, and to have to pay our pensions into a scheme that invests in companies that are driving this crisis seemed scarcely believable. I strongly believe that people would make more ethical choices if they knew and understood where their pension money was invested so wholeheartedly support this campaign.
Tell us about your pension – what sort of arrangement do you have? And how many pounds are saved in your workplace pension?
Not many pounds! Still, however small I think it’s right to be able to invest according to your preferences and beliefs, so I would prefer that no pounds were invested in any fossil fuel companies or airlines or any other high carbon industries. The best and simplest auto-enrolment scheme that I found was NEST and both of us at Green Schools Project chose their ethical fund. But their ethics didn’t match ours on fossil fuels as it only stipulated that they wouldn’t invest in non-conventional extraction such as fracking and tar sands.
What’s next? If you could do more, what would it be?
I would like to find a simple scheme that doesn’t have set up costs for a small organisation like ours that matches our ethics on climate and the natural world and specifically doesn’t invest in any way in fossil fuels. Even better would be if NEST shifted all of their investment out of fossil fuels. By the time people in their 30s and 40s are drawing their pensions we need to have halted all carbon emissions in any case, so it makes no sense for their funds to be investing in them now.
We are just a small organisation with a tiny pension fund, but if we can encourage bigger organisations to switch their pension funds to ones that will ensure a liveable planet for the children and young people that we work with that would be fantastic.