Calling WYPF members: join us if you’d like a pension that isn’t invested in fossil fuels

Tim WYPF AGM

Do you work for Kirklees Council (or another West Yorkshire council) and would like a pension that is not invested in fossil fuels?

On Tuesday 29th October the fair pensions campaign group, ‘Share Action’ launched its ‘Green Light’ campaign to persuade pension funds to invest in the green economy.

It is supported by numerous organisations including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Platform, Unison, Unite and WWF. You can read more including ‘The Green Light Report: resilient portfolios in an uncertain world’ on http://www.shareaction.org/greenlightcampaign

“Today, the fight against climate change steps up a level, and we’ve got a big opportunity to boost the movement for a low carbon future.

Currently billions of pounds flow into dangerous fossil fuel projects every year. A massive chunk of this money comes from our savings. Our pension funds are the silent players funding companies who are destroying the planet. And they’ll carry on with that destruction until we say ‘enough!’

But here’s the exciting bit. The financial power of our pension funds could be a major force for good. They could invest in projects and companies that are building a safer, greener economy instead.

A tiny number of pension funds are already leading the way with low carbon investment. With enough pressure, the rest of the pensions sector will follow suit. It’s our savings they’re investing – so if anyone’s got the power to intervene, it’s us.

So if we start now, and keep the pressure on by joining with other savers across the UK and around the world, we’ll get some early answers.

Our individual savings might not seem like much. But combined with thousands of other savers, we make up a powerful economic force that can shift the priorities of UK pension funds.

Just imagine if even a small fraction of the trillion pound pension industry was put to work supporting a low carbon future. We’d see thousands of green jobs created and clean energy powered by new technologies. All of this would create a safer planet for us to enjoy today and for future generations.”

For the past couple of months we’ve been engaging with ‘Share Action’ as part of our ‘fossil free’ campaigning. https://kirkleescampaignagainstclimatechange.wordpress.com/campaigns/

We’ve attended training with them and have decided to develop a dialogue about green investment with the West Yorkshire Pension Fund. This is the pension provider for most council employees in Kirklees, Calderdale, Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield.

We’re going to be attending the West Yorkshire Pension Fund’s AGM on November 8th to ask a question* on this matter.

We’re currently working on spreading the word about this to different organisations and to this end will be initially focusing on delivering presentations to West Yorkshire trade unions. Our first presentation will be to Huddersfield TUC on 26th November.

We have a number of people with West Yorkshire Pension Fund pensions who are interested in joining us but we are still keen to build the group further.

Please let us know if you have a WYPF pension and would like to join us in engaging with the fund.

If you do not, but know others who might be interested, we’d be grateful if you could pass this information on to them.

Of course, if you have a pension with a different provider and would be interested in engaging with them on divestment, please make contact with Share Action. They’ll be delighted to hear from you. Please contact jo.beardsmore@shareaction.org

* Question asked by Tim Padmore at West Yorkshire Pension Fund’s AGM on 8th November 2013:

“I am a deferred member of the West Yorkshire Pension Fund. I am worried about climate change and how it might impact the value of my pension and my quality of life in retirement.

I am glad to know that the fund recognises the material risk posed by climate change through membership of the LAPFF, CDP and IIGCC. Much of that work focuses on engaging with companies to reduce their emissions.

However, I’m keen that my pension also supports industries that combat climate change and build a low carbon economy. To that end please let me know:

– how much of the fund is invested in industries that facilitate a low carbon economy, and

– whether the fund will commit to setting and disclosing a target for increased investment in these important sectors over the next 5 years?”

 

 

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