Playing our part in protecting the planet

02 June 2020

The Trustee has a duty to make sure that the M&S Pension Scheme has enough money set aside to pay all members’ pensions now and long into the future. It does this by choosing a range of long-term investments and making sure it understands the risks in the investments it chooses.

But the Trustee also believes that as a significant fund with assets of over £11 billion, it has a part to play in protecting the planet and that this in turn will have a positive impact on the Scheme.

In order to achieve this goal, it has what is known as an “ESG Policy”. This provides criteria that it should measure against when choosing new investments for the Scheme and considering their risks.

ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and, when considered together, they provide a picture of an investment or a company’s standards towards sustainability, equality and corporate fairness.

Investments with high ESG standards (often referred to as sustainable/responsible investments) have positive, long-term impacts on the environment, society and companies. They also indicate a greater ability to provide positive long-term investment growth.

The Trustee identifies and monitors the ESG standards of an investment or company in two ways.

  • Investing in companies or investments which make a contribution to a specific ESG theme. For example, the Scheme has made investments in renewable energy and social housing.
  • Encouraging the companies the Scheme is invested in to improve their awareness of ESG issues by expecting its appointed investment managers, where appropriate, to have integrated ESG factors as part of their investment analysis and decision-making process. The Trustee monitors the practices of its managers to understand how they exercise these duties on their behalf and to aid them in so doing, the Trustee seeks advice from experts.

The Trustee believes this will make a positive contribution to the Scheme’s long-term investment growth, but it's important to be aware that it would never exchange higher ESG standards for poor investment growth.

For more information, you can download a copy of the Trustee’s Approach to Socially Responsible Investment which can be found here.

The Trustee has also taken the following simple steps to reduce the Scheme’s impact on the environment:

  • Focused on developing the information available to members online and encouraged them to go paperless.
  • Agreed to provide printed communications using recycled or carbon-neutral paper.
  • Adopted a paperless approach to the way it operates, accessing the information the Trustee needs to manage the Scheme online.
  • Supported M&S’ Plan A Objectives

We’ll continue to shine a light on how the Trustee plays its part in protecting the planet throughout the year. So bookmark the News page and keep up to date by checking in regularly.