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  • Writer's pictureCiaran Hughes QFA

Reduce your carbon footprint through your pension

Updated: Apr 22

Author note: Ciarán Hughes is a financial advisor at Ethico and an expert in ethical and sustainable investing solutions with 10 years+ experience in financial services.

How does switching to an ethical pension stack up against electric vehicles, eco homes, or being vegetarian?

In Ireland, the average carbon footprint per person is roughly 13.2 tonnes per year. This is how much green house gas we generate from our daily lifestyles. Traveling and commuting, heating our homes, and running our businesses all contribute.

We are all aware that consumer behavior needs to change in order to contain climate change. For most of us, we do what we can, when we can.

Traditionally, this involved changing to energy saving light-bulbs, or insulating our homes. More recently, switching to hybrid or fully-electric vehicles has become more affordable as the technology and availability improve. Many of us have looked to dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce our carbon consumption and to help the environment. These incremental steps are hugely positive and move us all in the right direction.

Saving into an ethical pension can reduce green house gases emitted by 66%. Over your career and through retirement those reductions are good news for you and the environment - source

Switching to an ethical pension is a simple step that you can take to reduce your overall carbon footprint. It is an easy win for you and the environment, and there are no downsides. In fact, there are many tangible benefits, not least the carbon reduction that comes with switching.


Compare carbon reduction methods

Listed below are the carbon savings or reductions you can achieve by making changes to your lifestyle or consumption choices. It is clear that switching to an ethical pension or investment can have a significant positive impact.

Light bulbs: Switching to energy saving light bulbs

Vegetarian: Switch from a meat-heavy diet to vegetarian

Electric car: Switch from a mid-range diesel to an electric car

Eco home: Switch from traditional construction to an ECO (passiv) home

No flights: Forgo 4 short and 1 long haul trips

Ethical Pension: Switch from a traditional pension to an ethical pension

tC02e =is the shorthand for tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. It is the standard unit in carbon accounting to quantify greenhouse gas emissions, emissions reductions and carbon credits.

The full data pack is available here


In reality, it is not possible for everyone to implement all of these changes. Affordability, lifestyle restrictions and motivation can be barriers to implementing positive change.

Switching to or starting an ethical pension is one option that has a large positive effect, and it is simple to do with the right advice.


Ethical investing has a range of positive benefits for you, the environment and society in general.

Ethical funds do not invest in companies with negative products, or bad track records on environmental and social issues. Priority is placed on investing in positive companies, while carefully evaluating environmental and social impacts in generating returns for investors.

At Ethico, we explain your options and the benefits of switching. If you feel it is the right choice for you, we facilitate those changes and take care of the admin.

Whether you pay into a company pensions scheme, or have an individual policy, there are ethical options available. Many of our clients have paid-up pensions from previous employments or have cash investments in investment funds. Most of these policies can be transferred to a better solution. If you'd like to chat it through, you can make contact below. We'd be happy to help.

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