Richard Curtis, co-founder of Comic Relief, has launched a campaign to shift the UK pensions pot into sustainable investments ahead of COP26 in Glasgow next year.

The campaign involves Edinburgh-based Ethical Finance Hub, which is calling on public sector pension schemes in Scotland to commit to investing in line with the Scottish Government’s ambitions to create a greener, fairer and healthier country and show leadership as the country prepares to host the event.

Mr Curtis, launched the campaign at an event alongside Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England, and Helen Dean, chief executive of Nest, the UK’s largest pension provider.

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The campaign is working to shift the £3 trillion in UK pensions into sustainable investments by giving millions of pension savers more voice and choice in how their pensions are invested.

New polling shows that nearly three-quarters of Scots either do not believe or do not know whether their pension is invested in line with their values.

Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, the initiative is calling on the pensions industry to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The aim of the initiative is to build a movement of individuals demanding a pension they can be proud of, organisations aligning their pensions with their values, pension funds putting people and the planet alongside returns, and the UK Government to ensure that all pension funds report on their commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The campaign is officially supported by the Edinburgh-based Ethical Finance Hub, and 21 organisations have joined the initiative including Oxfam, WWF, Comic Relief, Triodos Bank, BNP Paribas (UK), Ecotricity, and the Environment Agency Pension Fund, one of the UK’s largest local government pension schemes.

Previous research by the Ethical Finance Hub found that only 13 per cent of Scots who have a pension actively chose their own investment portfolio, but two-thirds of Scots said it is important that banks and other financial institutions take into account ethical, environmental and social issues when making investments.

Mr Curtis said: “Our pensions are powerful, and we must use that power to build a better world. The £3 trillion in our UK pension pot is more than enough to take on the climate emergency, bring hundreds of new drugs to market, or help solve the housing crisis.

“But from tobacco to fossil fuels, gambling to deforestation, pension funds have invested trillions on our behalf without asking us the crucial question – do these investments create a world that we actually want to live in?

“That is why Make My Money Matter will help people understand their ‘financial footprint’ and empower us all to have pensions we can be proud of.

“In doing so, we hope to mobilise real public engagement on the power of our money ahead of COP26 in Scotland.”

Mark Carney, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, and former Governor of the Bank of England, said: “This could turn the existential risks from climate change into the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.

“Private finance, including pension funds, will provide the $3.5 trillion needed annually for investments in sustainable infrastructure and fund the innovation and re-engineering of business in every sector of the economy.

“Make My Money Matter and our work for COP26 will help investors disclose how their client’s money is supporting these investment needs, so people can decide whether their priorities are being met. This will help deliver the world that our citizens demand and that future generations deserve.”

Chris Tait, project manager of the Ethical Finance Hub, said: “Today’s generation of consumers believes that investment decisions should reflect the issues they care about, such as the environment.

“With the world looking to Scotland, it’s important for financial institutions and public bodies to take into account ethical, environmental and social issues when making their investments.

“But any individual with a pension is also an investor, even though they may not necessarily consider that they are.

“A greater shift towards personal demand for responsible investment will encourage banks and asset managers to do the same.”

EasyJet is considering cutting more than 700 pilot jobs and closing its bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports, according to union Balpa.

The airline began formal consultation on its proposals on Tuesday after it announced last month it would reduce its workforce by up to 30%.

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Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said up to 727 pilots are at risk of redundancy.

He said: "We know that aviation is in the midst of the Covid crisis and we had been expecting easyJet to make an announcement of temporary measures to help the airline through to recovery.

"But this seems an excessive overreaction and easyJet won't find a supply of pilots waiting to come back when the recovery takes place over the next two years."

EasyJet said it would continue flying to Stansted, Southend and Newcastle even if it stopped basing aircraft there.

The airline's chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "These are very difficult proposals to put forward in what is an unprecedented and difficult time for the airline and the industry as a whole.

"We are focused on doing what is right for the company and its long-term health and success so we can protect jobs going forward.

"Unfortunately the lower demand environment means we need fewer aircraft and have less opportunity for work for our people. We are committed to working constructively with our employee representatives across the network with the aim of minimising job losses as far as possible."

Hundreds of jobs are likely to be lost at shirtmaker TM Lewin as it announced it will close all of its stores and switch sales online.

The menswear brand, famous for its office clothes, runs 66 shops, including in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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Investor SCP Private Equity bought TM Lewin in May from private equity owner Bain Capital.

In a statement, Resolve, which has been hired to restructure the business, said: "This acquisition secured the future of the brand at a time of unprecedented uncertainty within the retail sector.

"After considerable review, and due to the many issues currently being experienced by high street retailers, it has been determined that the future of the TM Lewin brand will be online-only."