1,000 signatures reached
To: East Sussex County Council
Divest East Sussex Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels
Investments in fossil fuels (oil, coal & gas) are damaging the balance of our climate and pose serious financial risks to investors, including many local pension holders.
Over 500 institutions, representing over $3 trillion in assets, have already committed to divest (i.e. move their money away) from fossil fuel companies.
We the undersigned call on East Sussex County Council to follow their lead and divest the East Sussex Pension Fund from its holdings in fossil fuel companies.
Why is this important?
Our local authority has a responsibility not to invest local people's funds in outdated, polluting industries, such as fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas), that are damaging the balance of our climate and threatening our way of life.
Already, we are seeing a greater frequency of extreme weather events, such as the floods of 2013/14 – the wettest winter in England and Wales since 1776 - which caused severe flooding in East Sussex and exposed our coast to very high storm surges from the sea.
Investments in fossil fuels are also financially risky.
Global temperature targets agreed by world leaders can only be met if most of the existing fossil fuel reserves remain unburned and we quickly move to cleaner technology. This means that investments in fossil fuel companies could soon become ‘stranded assets’.
Indeed, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that investors face 'potentially huge' losses from climate change action that could make vast reserves of oil, coal and gas 'literally unburnable'
For reasons of both public responsibility and financial prudence, a growing number of major institutions across the world - including the cities of Oslo, Seattle, and Oxford, Glasgow University, and the World Council of Churches - have already decided to move their funds out of fossil fuels. Several UK local authorities, including Haringey Council and the South Yorkshire Pension Fund, are now taking similar steps.
The East Sussex Pension Fund has an estimated £172 million of local people's pensions invested in fossil fuels. The Fund is administered by East Sussex County Council.
On 13 April 2016, Labour and Conservative Councillors on Hastings Borough Council – a member of the Pension Fund - joined forces to pass a unanimous motion calling on East Sussex County Council to divest the Fund from fossil fuels.
It's time for East Sussex County Council to divest local people's pensions from these dirty, damaging and financially risky industries.