15th June 2023

Sustainable Investments - Survey results and next steps
May 2023

Wind turbines in a field

We recently asked active members of the GSK Pension Plan to complete a survey on ‘Sustainable Investments’ (see below for more information). Of the 10,126 members invited to participate, we received 753 (7.5%) responses and so whilst the results provide some idea of member views, they are not necessarily indicative of the entire population.

Summary of survey results

  • 69% confirmed they had heard of sustainable investments
  • 36% of members understood the funds in which they were invested
  • 16% of members had heard of the GSK Global Sustainable Equity Fund recently introduced

Of the three ‘ESG’ profiles, the main factor that members valued was environmental. 47% of members indicated that they would be willing to forego potential investment return of 0.5% or more on their pension pot to invest in a sustainable fund.

There were several views shared regarding sustainable investments that are deemed ‘unethical’, with the most common theme being members preferring that GSK move away from these types of investments using a phased approach.

Next steps

The Trustee notes the feedback and would like to thank the members that contributed. The Trustee is monitoring the emerging experience of the sustainable investment fund currently available at GSK, to determine how best to approach further sustainable and ethical investing in the future in a way that benefits the whole membership. The Trustee is also aware of the need to further educate members on the current sustainable funds available so that they are fully aware of the possibilities of sustainable investing.

Fund choices for active members

GSK has one sustainable fund currently that members can invest in. This has been available since December 2022. More information about the GSK Global Sustainable Equity Fund can be found here.

In addition to GSK’s Global Sustainable Equity Fund, active members have the following funds available to them through the Legal & General Self Investment Pensions Plan (L&G SIPP), which have funds available that have a focus on Sustainable Investment:

  • L&G PMC Future World Fund G25
  • L&G PMC Future World Multi Asset Fund 25

Active members can invest their matching and additional voluntary contributions into both the GSK Pension Plan and the L&G SIPP, however, core contributions must be paid into the GSK Pension Plan only.

What is Sustainable Investment?

Sustainable Investment is a way to invest to meet the need of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This method of investing typically incorporates consideration of environmental, social and corporate governance (‘ESG’) issues and broader systemic issues such as climate change, sustainable development and active ownership principles (stewardship). Three main ways to invest sustainably are:

  • Exclusion – Exclude companies and industries that don’t reflect your values from your portfolio.
  • Integration – Integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors into your portfolio to improve your returns and reduce your risk.
  • Impact – Invest with the intention to generate measurable environmental and social change.

ESG issues such as climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy can have an impact on investments. Funds with an ESG focus aim to reduce ESG risks by decreasing investments in companies with a worse than average ESG profile (for example, companies with very high carbon emissions). The funds also aim to increase exposure to companies with a favourable ESG profile (for example, companies successfully generating income from low-carbon goods and services).

ESG fund managers engage with the companies they invest in to address a range of themes that could impact their performance over time. Companies which fail to demonstrate their commitment to transition successfully in a low-carbon world may be excluded from an ESG fund.