West Yorkshire Pension Fund takes first steps away from fossil fuels

Fight flooding go fossil free
For the first time, West Yorkshire Pension Fund has recognised that climate change poses financial risks to pensions, and has pledged to cut its exposure to fossil fuels which contributes to climate change.
 
The WYPF has added a section on climate change to its “Risk” chapter in its new Investment Strategy Statement stating: “The fund recognises the risks and opportunities associated with climate change, and will seek to measure carbon exposure within the equity portfolio and reduce that exposure over time. The fund will continue to increase investment in low carbon technology and renewable energy in order to encourage and facilitate further progression toward a cleaner economy”.
 
Reacting to the news, Chayley Collis from Fossil Free West Yorkshire said: “The WYPF’s commitment to cut the pension fund’s exposure to carbon is a very welcome first step. The pension fund has over £500 million invested in companies, like Shell, whose actions are fuelling climate change, which will increase the risks of more flooding here in West Yorkshire and heatwaves in Pakistan. We are calling for the fund to cut its investments in corporations who are putting people’s futures at ever-growing risk. This move by WYPF is a great start but we need to ensure that there is a timetable for divestment and that the pace of action matches the urgency of the situation.”
 
Fossil Free West Yorkshire  held a ‘Flashmob Dance for Divestment’ on Saturday 6th May as part of the Take Back Control Bradford event at Kala Sangam. The campaigners are also organising a family friendly event on Saturday 13 May at 2pm at City Park where passers by will be invited to get on board a ‘Fossil Free Ark’ and help West Yorkshire sail away from flooding and climate dangers into a safe and renewable future.
Flashmob for Divestment
The Fossil Free West Yorkshire events are part of a wave of actions across 42 countries on six continents as part of the Global Divestment Mobilisationcalling on institutions to end their investments in fossil fuel companies responsible for blocking action on climate change.
From the 5th – 13th May, hundreds of actions will take place around the world, including over 40 in the UK calling on local government, faith, health, cultural institutions, politicians and banks to show moral leadership and end their support for the fossil fuel industry.
 
 


Notes to editors:


West Yorkshire Pension Fund

All England and Wales local authority pension funds had to produce new “Investment Strategy Statements” (ISS) by 1st April 2017, replacing the old “Statement of Investment Principles”. The West Yorkshire Pension Fund’s new ISS has added a section on climate change to its “Risk” chapter. This reflects the growing calls over the last three from the financial sector and NGOs that funds must assess and deal with the financial risks that climate change poses..
The new section 5.3 states:
“The fund recognises the risks and opportunities associated with climate change, and will seek to measure carbon exposure within the equity portfolio and reduce that exposure over time. The fund will continue to increase investment in low carbon technology and renewable energy in order to encourage and facilitate further progression toward a cleaner economy”.
 
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment
The divestment movement saw its beginnings in North America, Europe and Australia and has since become the fastest growing divestment movement in history.  
Global commitments to divest have already reached 710 institutions across 76 countries, representing well over US$5.5 trillion in assets under management.
As climate denialists take office and commit to regress on climate action in the face of increased climate impacts worldwide, divestment provides a tangible way for individuals and institutions to show leadership on tackling climate change.  
The Global Divestment Mobilisation marks a new turning point for the global fossil fuel divestment movement, which is now spreading in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
In the UK, over 40 events will be taking place as part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation calling on local government, faith, health, cultural institutions, politicians and banks to divest from fossil fuels.
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