In the loop: a divestment campaign update

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The South Yorkshire Pension Fund holds over £6bn worth of investments, about £200m in companies with big fossil fuel connections. Our GoFossilFree campaign is therefore working hard to encourage its managers to divest, to help stay within the 2 degrees global temperature increase which is deemed safe for the planet’s future.

We noted an item on the Investment Board’s agenda for its 17 Sept 2015 meeting on “Responsible investment policy: fossil fuels and the effect of climate change upon investment portfolios” based on the Fund Director’s report (page 47 and on) and wrote a letter to the Board directors in advance of the discussion.

The Board decided at that meeting to:

  • affirm its policy of active engagement with investee companies and reiterated that it would not divest from investments solely on environmental, social and governance grounds
  • agreed to a carbon audit of its investments
  • formally confirmed that the Fund would continue not to directly invest in pure coal and tar sands companies
  • agreed to revisit the subject following the Paris talks this Nov/ December
  • agreed that the Fund should become a signatory of the Carbon Disclosure Project
  • noted that the Fund would seek to engage with pressure groups and fund members on the subject.

We’ve since been invited to hand in our divestment petition at the Authority’s main meeting on 3 December. If you’re a member of a scheme which is managed by the Authority (such as the Local Government Pension Scheme but there are many others) there’s still time to sign. We hope to engage in further discussion with them and to open up the debate further.