500 signatures reached
To: Cllr Graham Noel, Chair of Somerset County Council Pension Fund Committee
Divest Somerset County Council Pension Fund from fossil fuels
• That Somerset County Council Pension Fund Committee immediately freezes any new investments in fossil fuels.
• That within 5 years Somerset CC Pension Fund Committee divests from direct ownership, co-mingled funds, public equities, and corporate bonds that include fossil fuels.
Why is this important?
Somerset - on the front line of climate change.
Climate Change has caused, and is predicted to cause, a much greater risk of flooding and extreme weather. After the devastating floods of the Somerset Levels in 2013 Somerset County Council saw the terrible impact of climate change first hand. The Council recognises the potential impacts of climate change yet its pension fund invests £121,505,000 in the very fossil fuel companies that are causing climate change ! Yes, 8.3% of the fund, the 10th highest % in the UK, invested in the problem !
We can't afford to burn 80% of the world’s coal, oil and gas reserves if we want to keep climate change below the 2oC 'tipping point'. As governments begin to regulate more closely (as we hope they will do more in Paris in December), policy changes and oversupply of crude oil globally will see the value of fossil fuels plummet, reserves will become 'stranded assets' and the share price will drop. This makes investing in fossil fuels increasingly risky for all stakeholders. Financial experts, including the Bank of England, Goldman Sachs, Standard and Poor's and AXA, have warned of the economic risk that climate change policies pose to fossil fuel companies. Somerset County Council needs to be ahead of the curve to safeguard the future pensions of all its shareholders.
Somerset County Council recognises that it must do whatever it can to tackle climate change and it has a responsibility to divest from an industry that jeopardises the future of our planet. Yet the short term financial gain that the Pension Fund Committee hopes to achieve comes at the risk of financial loss and a cost to people and planet.
We hope Somerset County County Council pension trustees are aware of September’s UNEP Finance Initiative Report, Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century – which concludes that:
"Failing to consider long-term investment value drivers, which include environmental, social and governance issues, in investment practice is a failure of fiduciary duty.”
Instead of fossil fuel investment, SCC Pension Fund Committee should invest in solutions to climate change, investments that protect pensions and planet, joining The British Medical Association, Bristol City Council and Oxford City Council who have all recently agreed to make the commitment to no direct investment in the fossil fuel industry. Globally Somerset County Council would join over 400 institutions and 2000 individuals with an asset base of $2.6 trillion who are already divesting across the world.
We note the Government’s current October proposals to ban Council divestment unless from an approved government list and we hope that the Committee has the courage to take action before the government dictates what investments should be made.
Please sign the petition and encourage others to do so.
(1) http://math.350.org/ 350.org has revealed how much every UK council invests in fossil fuels.
Petition from Cllr Shane Collins, Leader of the Green Group on Mendip Council, East Mendip Green Party, South Somerset Green Party.