South Yorkshire Pension Fund investing £240 million in fracking

A national report released today, and covered in the local press, has revealed that South Yorkshire Pension Authority is investing over £240 million in fracking companies through their management of the pension fund [1]. The news comes as the fracking industry is poised to drill for gas for the first time in seven years in the UK, including test drills locally.

Activists at SYPA offices

Activists at SYPA offices

South Yorkshire Pension Authority has holdings in over 40 fossil fuel companies with major holdings in companies like Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and BHP Billiton.

Public support for fracking is consistently low in the UK [2]. Numerous councils have voted against fracking development in their areas, but council-run funds remain invested in the industry [3]. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland fracking has been effectively halted, but Councils there still oversee pension funds investing heavily in fracking companies.

Kate Stott, local campaigner from South Yorkshire Fossil Free, commented:

“Two years ago Sheffield City Council resolved not to invest in fossil fuels and committed to not allow fracking on Council-owned land. It is shocking to find out that despite these fine words the Council, through South Yorkshire Pension Authority, is actually investing the pension funds of council employees in the fracking industry.

Fracking is threatening communities in and around Sheffield as well as fuelling climate change across the globe. As the fracking industry tries to get a foothold in our region, it is crucial that Sheffield councillors take a clear stand against fracking and use their influence to ensure that South Yorkshire Pension Authority divests from the companies responsible.”

Oil and Gas Drilling in Wyoming

Oil and Gas Drilling in Wyoming

Sakina Sheikh, Divestment Campaigner with Platform added:

“The devastating fires and record temperatures this summer have brought the impacts of climate change home. Neither local communities nor our climate can afford for the fracking industry to win. Our councils are providing everyday support to the frackers.  It’s time to stop. It’s time to divest from fossil fuels.”

The data is released by 350.org, Platform and Friends of the Earth. It ranks council-run pension funds by their investments in companies involved in fracking. Full divestment commitments have so far been made by two UK council pension funds, with a further five making partial commitments [4]. The campaign to divest local council pensions has received backing from Unison and the TUC [5].

NOTES

  1. To view the full national data set and for more information, visit: gofossilfree.org/uk/divest-fracking
  2. See information in recent Drill or Drop article: https://drillordrop.com/2018/08/16/question-on-attitudes-to-fracking-dropped-from-government-survey/
  3. See Drill or Drop for summary of recent council decisions on onshore drilling applications: https://drillordrop.com/rig-watch/
  4. Waltham Forest and Southwark Council Pension Funds have committed to phase out all fossil fuel investments from their portfolio. To see the full list of global divestment commitments, visit: gofossilfree.org/commitments
  5. Read more on Unison’s decision on Platform’s blog. View the text of the TUC motion – adopted unanimously – on the Trade Unions for Energy Democracy website