500 signatures reached
To: Royal Borough of Greenwich Council
Divest Greenwich Council From Fossil Fuel Investments
‘People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.’ – Archbishop Desmond Tutu
We call upon Greenwich Council to:
1. Pass a motion or make a public statement supporting the principle of divestment from fossil fuel companies and to advocate to other pension funds, including the London Pension Fund Authority and Local Government Pension Scheme members, to do the same.
2. Divest Greenwich Council pension fund from direct ownership as well as any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds in the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies with the largest known carbon reserves (i.e. coal, oil and gas) and shift these funds to lower risk, ethical investments within 5 years (immediately freezing any new investment in the top 200 list).
Why is this important?
The Greenwich Pension Fund has around £17 million invested directly in fossil fuel companies and more invested indirectly (i.e. commingled) . Such investments carry a high degree of risk on ethical, financial and scientific grounds and the Pension Fund’s investments therefore expose the people of Greenwich to those risks. Hundreds of institutions around the globe have already committed to divesting more than £31 billion from fossil fuel companies, and the Greenwich Pension Fund can add significantly to this movement .
If global warming is to be limited to 2°C, a level already considered dangerous, up to 80% of known carbon reserves must be left in the ground . Available evidence indicates that fossil fuel companies intend to burn enough reserves to push global warming far above 2°C, as they insist even on searching for further reserves, often in the globe’s most ecologically sensitive areas . 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded and the 20 hottest years have all occurred since 1981, bringing increases in extreme weather events, flooding, droughts and other calamities [5, 6].
Fossil fuel companies have also been actively disruptive to political efforts at limiting global warming through intensive political lobbying and the funding of disinformation campaigns .
If it is wrong to continue to wreck the Earth’s climate, then it follows that it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. There are also increasing indications that the profitability of the fossil fuel industry will decrease significantly in coming years. If action is taken to limit global warming and a large degree of carbon reserves are left in the ground, shares in fossil fuel companies will drop significantly in value . As such, pension funds currently investing in fossil fuels risk exposure to this 'carbon bubble', while there is already evidence that fossil fuel-free portfolios are capable of out-performing those including fossil fuel investments .
For in depth analyses of these and related risks, see: