By Jamie Audsley, Head of Outreach
26 February 2015
“Always Learning” is the strapline of Pearson, FTSE giant and the world’s largest education business. Over the last six months members of the Pearson Pension Scheme have been taking action to ensure their occupational pension scheme puts this core value into action. Here’s an update on the story so far.
Chapter 1: Building the team
Members of the pension scheme, including current and former employees, started by meeting up to discuss their concerns and interests. Questions raised included: how can my pension align with my personal values and the values of the company I work for? Our work is about enabling people to learn and progress in their lives – do the investments in my pension do the same? As a company we pay a Living Wage – does our pension encourage other companies to do the same? Climate change is the world’s biggest challenge; surely our pension should support the transition to a low-carbon economy? With lots of questions, the team then attended a ‘Pension Power’ training session with ShareAction to talk about how to build a relationship with their pension scheme, and to equip themselves with the knowledge required for a face-to-face meeting.
Chapter 2: Developing a working relationship
Energised with new knowledge and supported by ShareAction’s Outreach Team, Pearson’s pension scheme members then set about developing a relationship with the pension scheme. A letter to the Trustees of the scheme with a request to meet was met with a positive response and invitation to the scheme’s offices. The first meeting was about making connections and learning more about the interests of members as well as the realities faced by those that have responsibility for the scheme. A second meeting was secured to take the work forward.
Chapter 3: Moving to action
During the follow-up meeting early this year, the team created a clear plan for the future. The plan focuses on three areas: educating and engaging scheme members, sharing more information about the fund’s investments and aligning the values of the business and the scheme.
On member engagement, the scheme has committed to working with its members to run a series of lunchtime sessions to involve more members and educate people about the current issues they face with their pensions – an easy step for a learning company!
Looking at information disclosure, the scheme has committed to disclose at least the names of the top 10 companies that the fund is invested in, and is hoping to do this by March. The scheme is also keen to learn about best practice and ShareAction will be providing support for further learning on transparency, accessibility of information and Responsible Investment policy.
Lastly, to align business and scheme values, a meeting between members of the scheme, the Director of the scheme and Pearson’s Director of CSR is being arranged to discuss how an approach to Responsible Investment can be implemented.
So, there’s going to be lots to do and lots more to learn in 2015. Members of the team will be back to you soon with the next chapter instalment.
Thanks Jamie! Email Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.