Working with members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme to promote ethical investment

The hard work of USS members has already led to significant gains, with USS investments changing for the better as a result of pressure. Now, the campaign wants to see USS show real global leadership – and real respect for member’s views – by stepping forward on climate, stepping away from weapons, and reviewing their legal thinking.

Why this is important and what we’re doing about it

The USS: Step Up campaign is run by academics and university staff concerned about how their savings are being managed. That team want to see the scheme engage with members, and to progress in three areas:

  • Step forward on climate change
    For USS to measure and mitigate the risks posed to pensions, engage with companies and, where necessary, move away from the worst offenders.
  • Step away from controversial weapons
    For USS to disinvest from weapons that can maim or harm civilians, and are illegal to manufacture under UK law.
  • Step in line with the Law Commission
    For USS to follow the Law Commission’s recommendations on the fiduciary duties of pension funds.

USS members have been campaigning for their fund to take the lead in ethical and Responsible Investment (RI) for almost twenty years. From roots in the 1997 People & Planet campaign Ethics for USS, through a petition signed by thousands and sustained grassroots activism, that effort has contributed to USS establishing an RI policy, appointing an in-house RI advisor and entering into dialogue with members.

Following the landmark international deal on climate change in Paris last December, now more than ever USS are obligated to listen to their members and invest more responsibly – for the good of savers, society and the environment.

Read our Q&A

Latest news

Campaign resources

Campaign Briefing: Ethics for USS

The campaign asks USS to undertake three important steps that will embed the voice of members into scheme decision-making and ensure our pensions are not invested in the manufacture of controversial weapons.


Mission: Pension Power

This is our easy to use Pension Power toolkit. This guide will enable you to use the power of your pension to create change through the investment system on the issues that matter to you, from climate change to fair pay.


Find out more

Jamie Audsley Head of Education & Organising


Colette St-OngeUniversities Superannuation Scheme