Nest has announced that our investment portfolio is now free from tobacco companies, a year earlier than we had planned.
The announcement to go tobacco-free was made before June last year after we concluded tobacco was a poor investment for our members. Key factors cited included:
- stricter worldwide regulation against tobacco products
- increasingly aggressive legal action by governments against the tobacco industry
- falling global smoking rates
Speaking at the time Mark Fawcett, Nest’s Chief Investment Officer, said “tobacco is a struggling industry which is being regulated out of existence”.
Nest set the target of being tobacco-free across the portfolio within two years. Since then, we have been working with our fund managers to remove all tobacco investments and can confirm the final £40 million worth of stocks in its portfolio have been sold, making Nest tobacco-free a year ahead of schedule.
The announcement comes after the news hundreds of thousands more people in the UK have given up smoking due to the health risks it poses from coronavirus. The charity Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) confirmed that in the past four months, 41 per cent of the one million smokers who’ve recently quit said it was in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest advice from the government is that smokers generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections, such as coronavirus, and that any coronavirus symptoms may be more severe if someone smokes.