Lobbying Swansea Council Pension Fund Board

Today we lobbied Swansea Council Pension Fund Board to encourage them to put pressure on the Pension Fund Committee to divest their funds far more quickly from fossil fuels.

They have written a Responsible Investment Policy that measures the carbon footprints of all the investments in their portfolio and also committed funds to investments following the “Low Carbon Index” tracker

£500m of assets are being transferred as we speak, some into a Clean Tech Fund, an Infrastructure Fund and alternative fuels.

The Welsh Government are committed to full divestment by 2050 but this is woefully to long a timescale to deal with the emergency that has been declared.

Pension Fund Board and Committee Members are justifying retaining investments in fossil fuel companies on the basis that this enables them to have a seat at the table and a say in how they operate,

Jeffrey Dong, Chief Treasury Officer at City & County of Swansea, pointed out that if you dis-invest fully then you will lose the opportunity to influence the corporations and push for a transformation to low carbon investments.

Is this the best strategy?? Surely divesting fully sends a strong message and will have influence on the corporations. Retaining shares and being a relatively minor voice is a very risky strategy to bring about the changes required in this emergency.

The Pension Fund Forum recently announce success stating that Shell is now committed to carbon reduction targets and the CEO has his pay linked to performance. Read more.

Swansea Council was trustee of the Pension Fund but has now delegated this to the Pension Fund Committee so have no binding control over the committee.

Saying that, we believe a petition followed up by a motion from Swansea Councillors will have a positive effect and put pressure on the Pension Fund Committee to more, much sooner.

XR Swansea are calling for 100% divestment from fossil fuel investments within the next 12 months. Why not??

Nationally across Wales there are 5 Pension Fund Boards and 8 Local Authority Pension Funds (yes it is confusing!). Swansea is keen to make it known that they are ahead of their colleagues but it’s clear that much more can be done to set a precedent. Cardiff Council might have something to say about that. Read more here

There is no commitment from the Wales Pension Partnership to fully divest but a draft policy in place and the members are responding with amendments before it gets voted on and adopted.

XR Swansea on Swansea Sound at 1.37..