Aviva launches pension with ESG default funds

The Stewardship lifestyle strategy uses ethical and ESG considerations throughout the growth and consolidation phases

Aviva claims to have achieved a first, by launching the UK’s first workplace pension scheme that has ESG funds as the underlying default investments.

The Stewardship lifestyle strategy was unveiled on Tuesday (2 July) and has ethical and ESG considerations integrated throughout the growth and consolidation phases. The strategy is based entirely on the Aviva Stewardship fund range, which was launched in the 1980s.

These funds invest in companies that contribute to the creation of a “sustainable society”. They exclude companies that do not meet ethical standards or are considered to harm society or the environment.

“Responsible investing is no longer a nice-to-have,” said Matt McGill, head of workplace propositions at Aviva.

“The investment and workplace pensions industry can play a huge role in changing the world we live in for the better, and the launch of this lifestyle strategy, utilising the Stewardship funds, is a big step towards that.”

McGill said that Aviva has been “at the forefront” of responsible investing and said that the company is proud of its tradition in this area.

He added: “We want to offer people a simple but effective way of ensuring that as they save for their retirement, their investment is being used for the good of society and the planet.”

The Stewardship Fund range is structured with three layers – exclusion, engagement and outcomes.

The funds exclude companies based on their sectors of involvement, automatically ruling out companies linked to tobacco, pornography or coal mining. The funds prioritise engagement to improve how companies conduct business and measure the outcome of the ESG performance of the companies in which the funds invest.