Local campaign group helps make divestment history
Waltham Forest Council is the first council to commit to pull its pension fund out of fossil fuel investments, following pressure from Friends of the Earth.
Waltham Forest Council has become the first council to commit to pull its pension fund out of fossil fuel investments altogether, thanks to pressure from local campaigning groups led by Waltham Forest Friends of the Earth.
Says Rob Platts from the local group: “The fund is not only taking necessary action to protect fund members’ pensions from risky investments, but it is also joining hundreds of public institutions worldwide in taking a stand against an industry which is causing climate chaos and endangering our future.”
Friends of the Earth groups across the UK are pressuring their councils to divest their pension funds from fossil fuels such as oil and gas.
The Waltham Forest fund – worth £735 million – currently invests £23.9 million in the oil and gas industries.
The decision to divest comes exactly a year after data was published showing that UK local government pension schemes invest over £14 billion in the fossil fuel industry.
Waltham Forest is joining nearly 600 institutions worth over $3.4 trillion globally – including over 70 pension funds – to make a divestment commitment.
In the UK prominent public institutions including the British Medical Association, Guardian Media Group and Quakers have committed to fully divest.
Three local government pension schemes – the Environment Agency, South Yorkshire and Haringey, in which Friends of the Earth campaigning played an important role – have made partial commitments to date.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also pledged take all possible steps to divest the London Pension Fund Authority from fossil fuels.