Health charity cuts CO2 emissions from pension investments by 93%

Asthma + Lung UK has cut carbon emissions within its pension fund investments by 93% over the last two years.

The decrease by the health charity has been revealed in a progress update on its five-year strategy to ensure its investments and organisation is adhering to its policy of improving air quality in the UK.

Between 2021 and 2023 it has seen a 45% total reduction of its CO2 emissions, with the biggest cut being almost completely removing investment in fossil fuels from its pension fund.

It has also cut its other investment emissions by 41%. Meanwhile the charity’s direct office gas consumption over the last two years has been cut by 44%.

Other reductions include an 8% decrease in office electricity consumption a 52% fall in indirect office activity and a 4% cut in travel.

“Having identified where we could make the biggest reductions in our carbon footprint, we set out a plan to move our pensions and investments out of fossil fuels wherever possible,” said the charity.

“Emissions relating to pensions were based on our annual contributions into the staff defined contribution pension scheme: we took the view that this was the element we were responsible for, as we have no way of knowing the value of an individual’s pension pot.

“We used published estimates of annual CO2 emissions per £ where these were available. We undertook a full market review and identified providers that could offer a default fund – that is the fund into which contributions are paid unless the employee specifies otherwise – which had significantly divested from fossil fuels.

“We launched our new pensions offer to staff in the summer of 2022, and as well as being well received by our team, it ensured a significant reduction in our annual carbon footprint related to pension contributions.”

Its 2022 strategy is called 'Fighting for Breath' and makes a commitment for the charity to “fight for clean air for all”.

“We recognised that we needed to ensure we were doing everything we could as an organisation to reduce our own impact on the environment, so we made a public commitment to halve our own CO2 emissions over the life of our strategy by 2027,” states the charity in its emissions progress update.

This statement has been released alongside the charity’s annual report, which details lobbying activity to promote cleaner air and improve respiratory services it has carried out nationally, in the devolved regions and locally.

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