Call for end to Shropshire Council fossil fuel pension investments
Councillors in Shropshire will next week vote on whether to ask the county’s flagship pension fund to stop investing in fossil fuels.
Pressure is mounting on the Shropshire County Pension Fund to move to greener investments for environmental as well as financial reasons, in light of a reduce in demand across the sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund manages the retirement funds of employees of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and the county’s town and parish councils.
A motion tabled by Shropshire Council’s only Green Party councillor calling on the authority to push the pension fund towards divestment will be debated by the full council at a meeting on Thursday.
Councillor Julian Dean’s motion reads: “Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Councils have both declared climate emergencies and pledged to be net zero by 2030.
“Shropshire County Pension Fund currently has around £294 million invested in fossil fuel companies including Shell and BP and through asset manager BlackRock.
“These investments are incompatible with the climate emergency declaration and the councils’ commitment to reach net zero within the next ten years.
“Fossil fuel investments are increasingly financially risky as a result of both the Covid-19 pandemic and the global transition to a more sustainable economic and environmental model. They are now being regularly out-performed by renewables.”
The motion has been supported by Liberal Democrat councillors Hannah Fraser and David Vasmer, and independent member Pauline Dee.
If it is passed, the council’s acting chief executives will write to the pension fund committee asking for all funds currently invested in fossil fuels be re-invested within three years.
Councillor Dean said: “This would allow for the development of ‘impact investment’ directed towards internationally recognised sustainable development goals and/or investment in a local sustainable economy, provide for a more sustainable future of all pension fund stakeholders, and provide leadership in the face of the climate emergency."
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