Olivia Colman has dressed as a latex-wearing oil executive called Oblivia Coalmine in a new campaign video highlighting the role of pension funds in fossil fuel projects.
The Academy Award-winning actress’s character thanks pension savers for allowing oil and gas companies to “dig, drill and destroy more of the planet than ever before” and spills an oily black liquid over her face while toasting with a champagne glass.
Created on behalf of the group Make My Money Matter, the advert encourages people to tell their pension schemes to remove their investments in fossil fuel projects.
Research from the campaign group, which was co-founded by Suffolk film director Richard Curtis, found £88bn of UK pension savers’ money goes to fossil fuel companies, £20bn of which is to Shell alone.
The Norfolk-born star of The Favourite 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.”
The advert, created by Lucky Generals and directed by Raine Allen-Miller, coincides with recent polling that suggests 19% of pension savers supported their money going towards oil and gas while 66% wanted it to go to renewables.
A number of high-profile protests have taken place to try and stop the use of fossil fuels, including a demonstration at then British Grand Prix last year.
But according to the group, people concerned about the reliance on fossil fuels do not have to turn to mass disruption.
David Hayman, the campaign’s director, said pension funds invest in fossil fuels because it had typically provided a good return, but this was likely to change with the global energy transition, which was putting the money increasingly at risk.
He said: “Pension funds are investing billions each year in companies developing new oil and gas; this is bad for people and bad for the planet.
“If we are to stay below 1.5C of warming, fossil fuel expansion must stop, and our pensions can play a big role in this.
“These companies face the risk of stranded assets, government regulation and customer pushback, so continuing to sink our money into these companies is hugely risky.
“It’s time for pension funds to think beyond the short term and really consider what type of world their members will be retiring in to in the future.”
Countries have committed to stop the Earth’s average temperature rising 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, considered the limit of a safe environment, and will gather in Dubai next week at Cop28 to discuss progress on this.
Research from the UN has found there to be only a 14% chance of achieving this goal with current policies, predicting that the Earth will warm by 3C by the end of the century.
Mr Hayman said that not one major UK pension scheme had committed to stopping fossil fuel financing and that those people who want their savings removed should email their pension schemes.
He said: “The most powerful thing any of us can do is contact our pension scheme and tell them to stop using our money to finance new oil and gas.
“Our campaign has shown that consumer power can work in pushing big financial institutions to act on climate change, and the more people show they care, the more the pensions industry will have to listen.”
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