How to make 130 billion Euros in pension savings to work for the climate

If you think you don’t have any money to spend on combating climate destruction? Actually and most likely your purchasing power in the form of your pension funds is mighty important.

We Don’t Have Time
Jun 18 · 6 min read
The campaign has already moved 127 Million SEK (11,9 million Euro or 13,4 million USD) in only a few weeks. 727 persons have pledged that they moved an average of 165 000 SEK to those with CO2 low funds. You can join too with zero hassle, no strings attached, no stress and to make a big positive climate impact. And all can agree to the campaign here.
The campaign for Klimatbytet “Opt-out of CO2 for a secure & just future pension”

The national old-age pension system in Sweden is divided into three parts. In one of these, the premium pension system (PPM), Swedish citizens themselves have the option of choosing funds for their premium pension allocation.

In total, 1 300 billion kronor (roughly 137 billion US dollars) are currently being held in the fully-funded system, which means that the average Swede has got 175 000 kronor to place in the funds.

The Pensions Agency has made it easy to pick, change and choose between the 573 funds available. But finding out what kind of companies you are actually investing in has not been as easy.

Until now.

In April this year, Joakim Jansson, a Swede working with corporate digital transformation, read a tweet saying that the Pensions Agency had launched a kind of filter to make it easier to find the most climate-friendly funds.

”I logged in to check it out, and ten minutes later I had transferred all of my PPM money to funds with low CO2 risk”, he says. ”It really was that simple.”

That night he lay awake thinking about how to make others do what he had just done. The idea of tackling the climate crisis by changing the flow of money had occupied his mind for some time, and now interesting thoughts started taking shape.

”The following day I tested an idea in a Facebook group, and a few hours later a few million Swedish kronor had been transferred from regular pension funds to climate-conscious ones.”

With the help of a few friends, Joakim Jansson started working on a web site to help facilitate the transfer of pension savings, and on May 28th klimatbytet.se (approximately ‘the transfer of’ or ‘the transformation’ for [the sake of] the climate) was launched. The first goal was to have 100 million kronor (roughly 10,6 million dollars) of the money in the PPM system transferred to climate-conscious funds.

”We reached the goal in five days, so now we have raised the bar to one billion kronor. Ultimately we want to reach as many as possible”, Joakim Jansson says.

So far nearly 700 persons have transferred over 120 million kronor to greener funds by using the website. But there are 7,5 million others having money placed in the PPM system. If just one per cent of them did what Joakim and others have already done, it would mean 18 billion kronor being transferred to investments in climate-conscious companies.

”When money starts moving on a large scale the dialogue changes in the corporate board rooms. There is no board in the world that is immune to the fact that a large sum of money if suddenly being transferred somewhere else”, Joakim Jansson says.

Klimatbytet.se has already gathered a lot of attention, not just from regular Swedes and a handful of celebrities, but also from big players in the financial sector. In June the Swedish bank Nordnet launched an ability to filter away funds for unwanted holdings such as coal and weapons of mass destruction.

And when Avanza, a leading platform for savings and investment in Sweden, launched a similar filter, they even admitted that klimatbytet.se had been an inspiration.

”Good things are happening. What I would wish for now is for the supply of climate-conscious funds to grow”, says Joakim Jansson.

At the moment, those who click the “Low CO2 risk” button on the PPM site will see the number of funds decline from 573 to 144.

And if they click all the rest of the buttons too — thereby filtering out funds investing in fossil fuels, weapons, tobacco, alcohol, commercial betting, porn, uranium and GMO — the number of funds available are down to four.

”The more people start demanding climate-smart funds, the more such funds will be available”, says Joakim. ”I work with transformation, that’s what I do for a living, and I know that when you and I start making decisions and start to change, others will follow. This has been proved scientifically so many times.”

But what about the turnout of the climate-friendly funds? Are they really as good as for example the Seventh AP fund (AP7), which is where the money is being placed for those that don’t make an active choice?

”No one can know for sure how the market will develop in the future. But of the 120 funds with low CO2 risks, 25 have so far done better than AP7”, Joakim Jansson says.

He has recently listed Klimatbytet.se as a campaign on the We Don’t Have Time app. The campaign is getting rave reviews and is on its way to reaching level 1.

The more agrees a campaign gets, the higher the level (level 1–5) it reaches and consequently more commitment is added by We Don’t Have Time and its community to the campaign to make it even more successful. This is, in turn, a key part in solving the climate crisis, getting ‘all hands on deck’.

”It’s great”, says Joakim Jansson about the app. ”I like that We Don’t Have Time want to scale up globally to spread good ideas all over the world. And the idea of using climate hearts, climate warnings and climate ideas is really good.”

For more stories on the same topic, read about a British initiative to transfer pension assets, and about why sustainable investments if one of the biggest trends in Europe at the moment.

Written by: Markus Lutteman

Joakim Jansson

Joakim Jansson is the founder of #Klimatbytet. May his quest with Klimatbytet.se be that of a successful move of millions or billions investments in Swedish pension funds to zero CO2. And may his initiative and campaign spread to other countries!

Go to klimatbytet.se for more information in Swedish. All Swedish citizens entitled to state pension funds will be guided to make the switch easily there. But to agree on the campaign can be done by everyone worldwide today here.

We Don’t Have Time is the world’s largest social network for climate action. Together we are the solution to the climate crisis. But we are running out of time. Join us: www.wedonthavetime.org

We Don't Have Time

We Don't Have Time's goal is to create a social media platform for the future, focused on the biggest challenge of our times - the climate. Through our platform, millions of members will unite to put pressure on leaders , politicians and corporations to act for the climate.

We Don’t Have Time

Written by

We Don’t Have Time is a social network for climate action. Together we are the solution to the climate crisis.

We Don't Have Time

We Don't Have Time's goal is to create a social media platform for the future, focused on the biggest challenge of our times - the climate. Through our platform, millions of members will unite to put pressure on leaders , politicians and corporations to act for the climate.