Tuesday 22 October 2019 12:01 am

MPs demand parliament's pension fund divests from fossil fuels

Three hundred MPs are calling on the trustees of the £700m Parliamentary Pension Fund to end their investments in fossil fuel companies.

The cross-party initiative has the support of the leaders of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP as well as senior Conservatives. It comes as the fund’s trustees are preparing to announce a new climate change investment policy in November.

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The fund’s largest single holding is an £11.6m stake in BP, and it also holds a £10.9m position in Royal Dutch Shell.

Agreeing to MPs’ demands would be a symbolic boost for the global divestment movement, which now has the backing of 1,000 funds worth over $11 trillion.

The pledge, supporters of which include Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, and mayor of London Sadiq Khan, stated: “We believe members of parliament have a responsibility to act on climate change, and a unique opportunity to show leadership on climate action, responsible investment and the management of climate risk through addressing the practices of our own pension fund.”

Caroline Lucas MP, the leader of the Green Party, said: “I am encouraged by the huge number of MPs who now agree that we must move our investments away from the polluting industries of the past, and instead support policies that will bring about a clean energy future.” 

Bank of England governor Mark Carney and the Environmental Audit Committee have warned that people’s pensions are exposed to overvalued carbon assets as the world moves quickly towards cheaper, greener renewables, and governments legislate for net-zero emissions.

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If the trustees approve the call for divestment, the fund would follow the Irish National Infrastructure Fund, the Greater London Authority’s Pension Fund, the New York City Pension fund, local authorities including Southwark and Islington, and two thirds of UK universities, who have all ended investment in fossil fuel companies.  

Main image: Getty