Welsh Assembly & Councils divesting from fossil fuels

Originally published at: http://www.climateemergency.uk/blog/welsh-assembly-councils-divesting-from-fossil-fuels/

The Welsh Assembly Member Pension Scheme have committed to divesting from fossil fuels. A spokesperson on behalf of the Pension Board of the National Assembly for Wales Members’ Pension Scheme stated: “The Pension Board have agreed to move 15% of Scheme assets, around £6 million, to a Sustainable Return Fund. This will see the Scheme’s investments in the oil and gas sector fall by c.30% to c1.99%. The Board has also adopted a policy to reduce the Scheme’s investments in the oil and gas sector to zero over a five year period subject to the availability, over that timescale, of suitable investment vehicles given the size of the Scheme.”

Friends of the Earth Cymru estimate that Welsh local authority pensions have almost three quarters of a billion pounds invested in fossil fuel companies, such as Shell and BP.

Monmouthshire Council voted unanimously in March 2018 for the Greater Gwent Fund to make “an ordered withdrawal” at the “earliest opportunity”. Fund managers said a review into “responsible investment” was “ongoing”. It also handles pensions for Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Newport councils.

In July 2019 Cardiff City Council voted to divest their pension fund from fossil fuels.

In October 2019, Powys County Council passed a motion by 22 votes to 18 with 4 abstentions as follows:
RESOLVED that this council calls for support for the Powys County Council Pension Fund Committee to consider the following:
Continue the ongoing support for the principle of divestment in companies engaged in fossil fuel extraction, in order to divest from direct ownership of
equities and corporate bonds, as well as any comingled funds, of companies engaged in fossil fuel extraction.
The Adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13:- “To take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”
And; to request and actively encourage that members of the Wales Pension Partnership consider divestment within a period of five years

Carmarthenshire Councillors also voted in October 2019 to divest from fossil fuels. However they are just 1 of 51 Public Sector members of the Dyfed Pension Fund, so can only try and influence their decisions.