55. Cushon

Company: Cushon

Founder: Ben Pollard

Website: https://www.cushon.co.uk/



About Cushon

Cushon is a workplace pensions and savings fintech empowering employers to enhance the financial wellbeing of employees through engaging lifetime savings products and climate-conscious pensions.

The UK pensions industry has around £3 trillion of assets under management, with much of this investing in net emitters, including fossil fuel companies.

The scale of the UK pension sector’s influence on climate change and the potential pace of the transition to net zero is enormous. It should be using its financial leverage to drive the transition, not delay it.

At Cushon we have always prioritised action sooner rather than later and have taken matters into our own hands to accelerate the transition to a sustainable and green economy.

We launched our pension offering in 2021 with a mission to reduce the carbon intensity of our default fund. Against an independently verified industry benchmark of 118tCO2e/$m, the scope 1 and 2 emissions financed by the growth phase of our default fund were 20% below this benchmark in 2021. Since then, we have embarked on a journey to rapidly decarbonise the fund, leading the charge in limiting the impact of pensions on the environment.

By summer 2023, we cut financed scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions in our default fund to 64% below the industry benchmark. In October 2023, we committed to achieving an 80% reduction in scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions financed by the growth phase of our default fund by 30 September 2030 to achieve a carbon intensity of 24tCO2e/$m.

The reductions are enabled by our default investment strategy – the Cushon Sustainable Investment Strategy – which took effect in Summer 2022.

This strategy is a cornerstone of our mission to rapidly reduce the scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions funded by the growth stage of the strategy, and includes one of the largest allocations in the DC Master Trust sector to private markets. Our private market investments target climate solutions, such as in windfarms, solar, green hydrogen and natural capital such as reforestation and afforestation – alongside impactful investing across all investments held (equities, bonds and private markets).

One example of this is an advanced pepper farm in Bury St Edmunds that integrates cutting edge science, technology and agriculture to pioneer sustainable farming. The greenhouse spans the equivalent of 55 football pitches and is powered using heat recovered from wastewater processing. That means it can cut the carbon footprint of every pepper it grows by 75%. Not only does it reduce carbon emissions by 75%, it also increases the productivity of the greenhouses by 50%, producing more than 100,000 peppers every week. Its produce is sold in supermarkets across the UK, and even Subway.

Cushon is relatively new to the pensions market, yet in a little over three years we have firmly established ourselves as a leader in decarbonising the sector.

Our industry leading investment strategy demonstrates that rapid decarbonisation – not just within pension funds, but in the real world – is achievable at pace. We do not need to wait until 2050.


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