Yesterday , Legal and General Investment Management ran a seminar in the City at which asset owners (pension trustees) and asset managers (LGIM) discussed harnessing the new technologies that give us everything from Tesler Cars to Hive and Nest- which allow us to all to radically reduce our carbon footprints.
I like fuel efficiency and will not be buying another car with an internal combustion engine. According to Toyota, they won’t be building internal combustion engines in 20 years time. I no more want my house dependent on the national grid as I want a landline, I hope by the end of my lifetime, I will be independent of baseline power. I will have no need of fossil fuels.
I am no freak, I see the direction of travel we are taking and hope to take the fast train! Others will want to stay in the traffic jam but I’ll be getting to the station by bike.
Last year I did less than 5000 miles in my car, I have moved to public transport and love it.
Managing my simple energy requirements at home will mean me working with others in my apartment block to find a more efficient way not just to save but to generate efficiencies in the way we manage our flats and common areas.
I would like to think that the investments I am making for my later years, (my pension as I still quaintly call it, are taking advantage of these advances in energy efficiency too. Talking to Mark Thompson, CIO of the HSBC pension scheme, I was pleased to hear that he feels the same way about the £1,600,000,000 invested in the default fund of the HSBC DC plan. He’d like the trustees to make sure members are investing in a fuel-efficient way and is taking steps for this to happen.
So far, it has been up to pioneering organisations like the Environment Agency to invest, decarbonise and engage its members in what it is doing. But we need to move quickly to a point where we are all engaged in “investment fuel efficiency”, if our investments are to keep up with out lifestyles.
It is shocking that of the 19 IGC reports I’ve read (and the 12 GAA reports), only one (Aviva) made any mention of the ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors that can improve our investment performance and make our environment and social life better governed.
It’s shocking that the big DC pension conference of the DC investment forum (in plush Hanbury Manor) does not have one agenda item that touches on this subject.
It’s shocking that the WSB conference kicking off today in Edgbaston) does not have one session on these matters.
It’s shocking that the only of these events where these matters will be discussed will be at Accountex 16 where accountants and payroll operatives seem more interested in the
It’s shocking because there are such obvious advantages in not committing money with over-valued stocks which are likely to see their fortunes ruined by the prevailing trends toward fuel efficiency (and self-sufficiency). Detailed presentations from Citi Group and Carbon Tracker yesterday demonstrated that simply investing in a passive index of stocks (as my “pension” does) is a mugs game. My pension is invested with L&G and next week I sill be asking it’s IGC to focus next year on the work being done within to ensure that I don’t have to wait till I’ve retired to have the opportunity to invest as I want to live.
I am not an expert, nor were most of the people in the room. Most of us were in our 50s, I asked the lady I was sitting next to, why she was there, she told me that her son had been influence by a film he’d seen some years back about Al Gore and had gone on to study and work in environmental science, I realise that I was there because my son won his place at Cambridge to read geography because of a personal statement that focussed on the very issues that this seminar was about.
Just as with so much else, my life is being shaped (I think for the better) by a vision for the future being driven by younger generations. My son is in regular conversation with my boss at First Actuarial (who has no truck with the sustainability agenda and firmly believes that fossil fuels are saving the planet). The conversation is instructive!
At the end of the seminar, someone from the Church of England stood up and asked everyone in the audience to make sure that whoever had voting rights on the pension schemes they were running to make sure they exercised them on 25th May at the Exxon and Chevron shareholders meeting in the USA.
I very much hope (and expect) that my pension will do so. Infact I will be asking the Chair of the IGC of my pension (Paul Trickett) to make sure this happens.
I don’t want my pension to be driven by an engine spluttering out 15mpg – anymore!