Wednesday 18 November 2015 12:01 am

Shunning fossil fuels could burn £1m a year off of GLA pension fund

I'm a reporter at City A.M., mainly covering law, professional services and banking

I'm a reporter at City A.M., mainly covering law, professional services and banking

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Going green might be good for the environment, but it could eat into the Greater London Authority (GLA) pension fund.

GLA Conservatives economics spokesman and assembly member Gareth Bacon has said that the pension fund could potentially lose out on £1m per year if it stops investing in fossil fuels.

“Recent calls to stop the City Hall’s pension fund from investing in fossil fuels are frankly irresponsible,” said Bacon. “At a possible loss of £25m over 25 years, this could put thousands of people severely out of pocket, and all for a mere political statement. Investment is not about making personal statements it’s foremost about making a good return for pensioners.

“Picking and choosing which publicly traded business is good or evil is entirely foolhardy. Continuing down this path means revaluating every investment made. After fossil fuels what’s next? Sugar, automobiles, quinoa? It’s playing with hard working people’s financial future and entirely politically driven.”

Bacon intends to quiz Boris Johnson on these matters at the Mayor’s Question Time this morning, and seek some assurance that the City Hall pension fund will not be divesting of its fossil fuel holdings .

Earlier this year, research from Community Reinvest, Platform, and Friends of the Earth revealed that UK local government pension funds had invested £14bn into fossil fuels, which is something the researchers described as risky.

In particular, the data highlighted that, while six per cent of local government pensions were invested in fossil fuels, the proportion was notably higher in Merton (11 per cent), Worcestershire (10.7 per cent) and Camden (9.5 per cent).