, 13 October 2016, Tags:
An open letter on Fossil Fuel Divestment and the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund, sent on October 13th to all five of the constituency MPs in the boroughs of Waltham Forest & Redbridge. The letters were sent by Green Party members and constituents to Iain Duncan Smith, Stella Creasy, John Cryer, Wes Streeting and Mike Gapes. (1)
In view of the increasingly negative economic forecast for the future of fossil fuel investment, I wonder whether you have given some thought to the matter in relation to the investments of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF), which has direct implications for all sitting MPs. This winter will see the public launch of a Divest Parliament Campaign: I would like to invite you to become an early supporter. The overarching goals of the campaign will be for the PCPF to commit to an industry-leading approach to responsible investment and reducing climate-related financial risk, which at least matches the Environment Agency Pension Fund on fossil fuel divestment and follows best-practice codes on transparency.
While Parliament drags its feet, local authorities are leading the way
On September 22nd, the London Borough of Waltham Forest took the historic decision to divest its pension fund from fossil fuels after a campaign by local climate activists, which included members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. The borough is the very first in the UK to have taken this important step, which demonstrates not only courageous climate leadership, but just as importantly recognises the uncomfortable economic truth - that fossil fuels are rapidly on their way to becoming stranded assets. As a Green Party activist, I am alarmed by the media silence from our national press concerning Waltham Forest’s decision, which has so far been reported in only two local papers: the Waltham Forest Echo (September 29 2016) and the Waltham Forest Guardian (September 23 and 29).
The total investment by local government in fossil fuels currently stands at £14 billion, so there is a long way to go yet before full divestment becomes a reality for council employees across the country. The total investment by the PCPF remains a secret, falling short of industry best practice on transparency.
Waltham Forest’s commitment follows similar decisions, undertaken by (among others): the Environment Agency, Glasgow University, the British Medical Association, Oxford City Council, Brighthelm Church and Community Centre and Sussex University. Even the Rockefeller dynasty (largely built on coal and oil revenues) is reinvesting its money in renewables.
In view of this growing (and global) movement away from investment in fossil fuels, which not only contribute to climate change but also offer potentially uncertain returns, I am asking you to press for the PCPF to divest from fossil fuels. Although PCPF Trustees have declined to reveal exactly where funds are invested, information provided shows it’s highly likely that the fund has significant fossil fuel investments. May I remind you that EDM 445 (Climate Change, Fossil Fuel Divestment and The Parliamentary Pension Fund) was tabled over a year ago by Green MP Caroline Lucas (vice-chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Investment).
If you continue to remain unconvinced of the urgent need for full divestment of the PCPF, at a bare minimum, I ask you tosupport the request by Caroline Lucas (vice chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Investment) for the sums involved to be disclosed.
1) The correspondents were: Michael Holloway (Iain Duncan Smith), Paul Murphy (Stella Creasy), Ann Williams (John Cryer), Lee Burkwood (Wes Streeting), David Bryant (Mike Gapes)