UK pension funds COP it as Oscar star decries fossil fuel investments

As the COP28 climate summit began in Dubai, Academy-Award winner Olivia Colman has starred in a new advert, mocking UK pension funds for the level of their fossil fuel investments.

The star of ‘The Favourite, ‘The Crown’, ‘Heartstopper’ and ‘Peep Show’ plays ‘Oblivia Coalmine’, a latex-wearing, potty-mouthed CEO of a fossil fuel company paid for by UK pension holders.

The advert, entitled “Oblivian”, has been made by Make My Money Matter; the campaign headed by BAFTA Award-winner Richard Curtis, who says it has been designed to highlight the “shocking relationship between UK pension schemes and the fossil fuel industry”.

In the spoof feature, Oblivia is clad in black latex in the boardroom of her global fossil fuel company. She thanks UK pension holders for their “generosity” in helping her achieve record-breaking profits. The advert ends with a furious Oblivia having her own ‘oil spill’, as she dribbles viscous black champagne down her latex coat.

Colman said: “Fracking Hell, Oblivia Coalmine really is a nasty piece of work! But the scariest thing about her is that she represents something very real.
“That’s why this is such an important campaign. I hope everyone who sees this ad realises the shocking – but unintended – impacts of our pensions and makes their money matter. It really is one of the most powerful things we can all do to protect the planet.”

Make My Money Matter said the ad aims to raise public awareness of the impacts of the pension industry on the climate emergency and encourage UK schemes to end their investments in fossil fuel expansion.

It added that its research found £88 billion of UK pension savers money is invested in fossil fuel companies.

“This includes £20 billion in Shell alone, a company which, despite bumper profits, has publicly rolled back on climate targets this year,” it explained. “New public polling shows that such investments are not just bad for the planet – but they are also unpopular with savers. Just 19% of UK pension holders support their scheme investing in oil and gas, compared to two thirds (66%) who support their pension investing in renewables.”

Campaigners added despite this, industry action on this agenda is painfully slow. Not one major UK pension scheme has publicly committed to stopping finance for fossil fuel expansion. This despite clear guidance from the International Energy Agency that new oil and gas is incompatible with the 1.5-degree warming target of the Paris Climate Agreement, and the growing long-term risks investments in fossil fuel expansion poses to pension holders.

“Ahead of COP28, Make My Money Matter hopes that Oblivia’s explosive performance will raise public awareness of the links between their pensions and fossil fuels, and encourage pension funds to stop financing fossil fuel expansion,” it added.

Curtis concluded: “I’ve seen some dark, dystopian characters in my career, and that doesn’t even include Hugh Grant in Love Actually. But I think Oblivia Coalmine is right up there with the worst.

“At Make My Money Matter, we hope this sinister performance by Olivia Colman highlights a more serious issue – that billions of pounds of our hard-earned pensions are driving the climate crisis. People across the UK want their money to help our planet, not harm it and all our pension schemes must now pay attention and take immediate and urgent action.”

Make My Money Matter said the ad aims to raise public awareness of the impacts of the pension industry on the climate emergency and encourage UK schemes to end their investments in fossil fuel expansion.

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