Millions of UK Pensions Exposed to ‘High-Risk’ Fossil Fuel Investments
Friday, September 25, 2015
Council pension funds in Britain have invested £14 billion in the fossil fuel sector, despite the fact these assets risk tumbling in value as the world grapples with climate change.
Following detailed analysis of UK councils’ investment patterns, a coalition of environmental groups uncovered some controversial findings.
350.org, Platform, Community Reinvest and Friends of the Earth scrutinized £231 billion (US$351 billion) worth of investments belonging to 418 councils across the UK.
Millions of local government workers were found to have invested £3,000 each in fossil fuels as part of their pension pot, despite a growing chorus of critics who warn against investing in the sector.
More than 6 percent of local authority pensions were found to be invested in fossil fuels, while 75 percent of direct fossil fuel shareholdings were linked to ten energy giants – headed by Shell and BP.
The largest fossil fuel investments were made by Manchester (£1.3 billion), Strathclyde (£750 million) and West Yorkshire (£670 million). However, Merton (11 percent), Worcestershire (10.7 percent) and Camden (9.5 percent) also had high exposure.
Council pension fund investment patterns are heavily influenced by external advisors and fund managers, who pocket millions in exchange for their counsel.
Such investment practices ignore the social and environmental consequences of investing in fossil fuels and opportunities to bolster low carbon investment. 350.org, Platform, Community Reinvest and Friends of the Earth argue these investment policies should be vigorously challenged.
Source: RT (link opens in a new window)