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Banks & Building Societies


Ethical Money – Pensions

Workplace pensions are a necessity for the majority of workers in the UK. However, many people are unaware of the ethical implications that come with pension funds. Your money could be funding a range of controversial businesses, from fossil fuel companies to animal testing labs, to major weapons manufacturers. According to a recent survey by the Make My Money Matter campaign, two-thirds of savers do not know where their money is being invested. Our Ethical Pensions rating table provides information on the most ethical and sustainable pension providers available in the UK.

The Problem with Pensions

When you pay into a pension fund, your money is often invested in stocks and shares so that the value of your pension increases. This means that your money could potentially be invested within industries you do not feel comfortable with. Our research found that many leading pension providers are investing money in fossil fuel companies. Most people are aware of the detrimental impact that fossil fuels have on the planet and its wildlife, from releasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere to oil spillages polluting our rivers, lakes, and seas. Your pension could also be invested in industries that have serious human rights implications, such as weapons manufacturers. Socially conscious individuals would be alarmed to learn that their money is financing the tools used in wars and conflicts across the globe.

These issues are reflected within our research; the Environmental Destruction category examines whether a pension provider has received criticism for investing in harmful environmental projects, whilst Other Irresponsible Lending looks at other controversial investments, such as financing weapons and tobacco companies.

The Alternative – Ethical Pension Funds

Now more than ever, employees are wanting to know that their pensions are not being invested in companies that harm the environment, animals, or people. One way to achieve this is by looking at the Responsible Investment Policy of your pensions provider – do they exclude harmful investments such as fossil fuels, cluster munitions, and deforestation projects?  Moreover, some companies now offer ethical pension funds which exclude controversial investments, such as fossil fuel-free and ESG-focused pensions. By opting for these funds, you can be reassured that your money is contributing to the world in a positive way.

‍‍‍Another way of finding an Ethical Pension is by using a financial advisor to help you select a fund that aligns with your personal values and ethics, saving you time and effort in researching the appropriate pension.  For independent financial advice, we can recommend Ethical Money, which has received Ethical Accreditation and an Ethical Company Award from The Good Shopping Guide – they have a team of independent financial advisors who specialise in ethical investments, helping you avoid controversial funds and allowing you to invest in more sustainable alternatives.

For more information on Ethical Pensions, see the full breakdown in our Ethical Pensions Rating Table.

Key Research

Below you will find links to the key sections of our ethical research in Finance and Money:

We have created ethical comparison ratings for the following brands, based on the activities of the company group (see link above for the table): Aegon, Aviva, Bestinvest, eVestor, Fidelity, Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor, Legal & General, LV, Nest, Nutmeg, Penfold, PensionBee, Prudential, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Standard Life, Sun Life, The People’s Pension, Vanguard, Wesleyan, Zurich

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