Research from Divest UK has shown that Local Authorities in the UK invest almost £10 billion in Fossil Fuel industries through their pension funds. You can find the information for your Council on Divest UK’s website here and a full briefing from them can be found here.
ALDC has produced some campaign materials to help you campaign for pension fund divestment in your local area.
You can find an updated template Council Motion – designed for use with the local data supplied through Divest UK – here.
A template Press Release can also be found here.
It is also a really good targeted campaign to run to green-leaning areas and amongst younger voters. We have produced some Direct Mail templates that can be accessed here with a full colour insert and a black and white insert.
It’s about time ALDC focussed on this issue.
Probably the most effective
Way for Councils to contribute to fighting climate change
If there are arguments about ability to do this and also make the best return, then there are ethical investments which do pretty well.
I have no doubt the symbolism around divestment seems appealing but the reality is that, while divestment is and should be an option, engagement by pension fund shareholders with all companies, not just fossil fuel businesses, is an effective way to encourage the transition required to take us to net-zero. How many tons of CO2 are saved by telling a stockbroker to sell shares? I would turn the negative message of divestment on its head and instead encourage pension funds to invest in fossil free businesses and companies that are making the transition to net-zero.
I agree with Neil, divestment is a headline grabber, but not necessarily the most effective action.
In addition to direct investment in the alternatives, I would add that we ought to be engaging the management and financial resources of fossil fuel companies to speed the transition to lower energy use and renewables. As an example, the Danish state-owned oil and gas company DONG Energy reinvented itself as Orsted, now one of the biggest global investors in wind energy.
The growing consortia of climate-aware share-holders are pushing for this sort of transition action. If shares are sold to those who don't care about the climate, then this sort of transition will be less likely.