Council pass Green Party motion on pension fund investments in fossil fuels

PRESS RELEASE

12 October 2018

Green Motion on reduction in fossil fuels investments successful

Herefordshire Green Councillors were delighted with the success of their motion to council today, which was passed almost unanimously with one abstention.

Councillor Trish Marsh, proposer of the motion, welcomed the gradual reduction in fossil fuel investments held by Worcestershire Pension Fund, which also manages the pensions of many public sector employees in Herefordshire. She called on Herefordshire Council representatives on the Worcestershire Local Government Pension Fund board to work with Worcestershire colleagues to seek alternatives to investments in fossil fuels.

The motion also urges the Fund to provide regular information on the results of their policy of engagement with their fossil fuel and other carbon intensive holdings; and to review their Statement of Investment principles and Responsible Investment principles in the next year, including undertaking a carbon risk audit.

Councillor Marsh said “Herefordshire Council has long held a commitment to reducing its own carbon impact and support county carbon reductions with partners. It has taken positive steps over the last decade, including introducing LED street lighting across the county, and installing PV panels on some publicly owned buildings, measures which have also led to significant financial savings.

We are pleased to have the support of other parties, including the Conservatives who seconded the motion, in taking the Council’s commitment to combat climate change another step forward. We welcome cross party working and are glad that other parties are seeing the value of green policies.”

The Motion as submitted to full Council meeting 12 October 2018:

Motion – Worcestershire Local Pension Board

(Proposed by Councillor PP Marsh, Seconded by Councillor tbc )

The Council welcomes the recent decision by several local authority funds, including Merseyside Pension Fund, to take practical steps to reduce their investments in fossil fuels.

We also welcome the powers now explicitly given by government for pension funds to take financially material considerations, including climate change, into account.

We note increasing evidence for change in demand for fossil fuels, such as Carbon Trackers’ ‘2020 Vison: why you should see the fossil fuel peak coming’, which will impact on share prices over the next decade and thus on returns to the fund.

Worcestershire Local Government Pension Fund is responsible for the pensions of Herefordshire Council employees and many other public sector employees. It has significant holdings in fossil fuels.

We call on our Herefordshire Council representatives on the Worcestershire Local Government Pension Fund board and committee to seek alternatives to investments in fossil fuels. In particular we ask them to push for the Fund to:-

  • provide regular information on the results of the Fund’s policy of engagement with its fossil fuel and other carbon intense holdings; and
  • overhaul their Statement of Investment principles and Responsible Investment principles in the next year, including undertaking a carbon risk audit.

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