Cambridge Green Party urges County to stop putting workers' pension cash into the fossil fuel industry

9 December 2021

THE CAMBRIDGE GREEN PARTY is calling on county chiefs to stop investing pension money in the fossil fuel industry. 

Cllr Hannah Copley, who represents Abbey on Cambridge City Council, says it is morally and financially unjustifiable to use the retirement savings of public sector workers to buy shares in fossil fuel firms. 

And Cllr Copley has tabled a question to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Pension Fund Committee urging its members to show the polluting industry that its attempts to “greenwash” its activities won’t work. 

Cllr Copley says: “Will members of the Pension Fund Committee agree to support full divestment of the pension fund from the fossil fuel industry in order to send a strong signal to the fossil fuel firms - and residents of the county - of their commitment to climate action and their willingness to make a stand against the widespread greenwashing?” 

The Cambridgeshire Pension Fund oversees the retirement cash of nearly 90,000 current and former employees of the county council, the five district councils it encompasses and related companies. 

The Fund is worth more than £3billion, of which over £50m is still invested in fossil fuel companies - and Cllr Copley says it is time to move that money into other sectors. 

 

TIME FOR CAMBRIDGESHIRE TO ACT - AS OTHERS HAVE 

In her question to Monday’s (December 13) meeting of the committee, Cllr Copley gives a number of examples of action taken by local authorities in relation to investment in fossil fuel companies - including a divestment commitment from the UK’s biggest pension fund (NEST). 

Cllr Copley, in urging Cambridgeshire to take similar measures, says: “I cite the following three main reasons for divestment. 

“Firstly, I put to you that divestment is a moral imperative. 

“Secondly, I put to you that divestment promotes necessary societal and political change in the face of widespread greenwashing and lack of proportional change in behaviour from fossil fuel companies. 

“Shareholder engagement with fossil fuel companies has not, and will not, lead to change on the scale and in the timeframe necessary. 

“Finally, I put it to you that investments in fossil fuel companies make poor financial sense. 

“Overall, continuing to hold these investments in the fossil fuel industry is failing those alive now and future generations by not doing everything within the power of the committee to encourage the necessary social and political change both from fossil fuel companies and from wider society.” 

 

CAMBRIDGE GREEN PARTY LEADS THE WAY 

Cllr Naomi Bennett, Cllr Copley’s fellow Green representative in Abbey ward, adds: “Divestment isn't just important for ethical reasons but for risk management reasons. “With so many institutions divesting from fossil fuel assets, it's really important for the pension fund to have a clear divestment strategy. 

“Pension funds cannot sit on their hands if they want to future proof workers' pensions.” 

The Cambridge Green Party has led the way in putting Cambridge at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change and environmental catastrophe. 

In October, the city council became the first local authority in the UK to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, a global campaign to end expansion of the industry and speed up moves to phase it out completely. 

Cllr Copley proposed the motion, which was unanimously supported by her fellow councillors. 

She and Cllr Bennett have led city centre protests against fossil fuel expansion and actively campaigned against the proposed new Cambo oilfield off the coast of Scotland.

Cllrs Hannah and Naomi at fossil fuel protest






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