Green Party Councillor Jonathan Essex has called upon Surrey County Council’s Pension Fund to change the way it does its business.
Cllr Essex, who attended the latest meeting of the Fund this week, highlighted the financial case for considering a more sustainable investment strategy
He made the case that divesting from investments in fossil fuels and re-investing this better elsewhere can improve the performance of the pension fund. Currently, £177m which represents 6.3% of Surrey’s £2.8bn pension fund, is invested in fossil fuels.
Cllr Essex said:
“The pension fund’s duty should be to do the right thing and invest, and not create an artificial choice between the two.
“I was disappointed that the committee was not prepared to listen to evidence from investment experts as to the risks of not switching its £176m investment in fossil fuels and the benefits of more sustainable alternatives.
“The pension fund has a duty to invest wisely but Surrey should and can invest ethically too. Surrey Greens believe that we need to take the lead in a more joined up approach in meeting the needs of pensioners now, and in the long term, in a way that is both financially prudent and ethically sound.”
Waltham Forest Pension Fund shows the way
On 22 September 2016, Waltham Forest Pension Fund (worth £735 million) voted unanimously to “exclude fossil fuels from its strategy over the next five years”.
Chair of the Pension Fund Committee, Councillor Simon Miller, said: “Waltham Forest Pension Fund is proud to commit to divesting from fossil fuels. Not only does this mean that the fund will not be invested in stranded assets, but will be actively investing in cleaner, greener investments to the benefit of our community, borough, and environment.”
- Cllr Essex’s questions and the answers he received
- Press release about Waltham Forest Pension Fund’s decision to divest from fossil fuels
- Further information local government pensions and fossil fuels