Pension Funds For Scientists Invested in Tobacco

May 30, 2016 |

About £211m of Cancer Research UK’s scientists have their pensions ironically invested in the tobacco industry.

According to UK’s The Guardian, the university staff pension fund indicates in the year to March 31, 2015, the Cancer Research UK scientists’ pensions had been invested in tobacco companies including the BAT.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) had its biggest holding in £344m in Royal Dutch Shell.

Scientists were appalled by the discovery that their pensions are invested in such a manner.

“This means that, even if only indirectly through our time and labour, CRUK money is being invested in growing and supporting the tobacco industry,” said one scientist. “The idea that we all have our pension invested in BAT is outrageous.

“All the work of this institute is done under the guidance of CRUK, and we are, quite rightly, regularly reviewed to ensure that CRUK money is being spent effectively and efficiently in the global fight against cancer. How can this possibly be in line with the fact that most of us will retire comfortably on money earned from tobacco investments?”

According to Universities UK, representing the vice-chancellor and principals of UK’s academes, said the USS was a responsible investor.

It said:

“USS, as part of its investment duties, takes into account wider social, ethical, and environmental and governance issues, so long as that ensures that the assets of the scheme are invested in the best financial interests of members and their beneficiaries,” said a spokesperson.

“USS is also a responsible and engaged investor. They have, for example, undertaken engagement with tobacco companies on marketing approaches and regulations around e-cigarettes.”

Posted in: General Consultation

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