Open Letter from Green KCC Councillor to KCC Superannuation Fund on divestment from fossil fuels

By   November 2, 2015

Dear Superannuation Fund committee member,

There has been, quite rightly, a lot of interest and correspondence of late about divestment related to coal, oil and gas. I am writing to put the case firmly for what is now becoming a mainstream movement away from this sector and ask that the superannuation fund agrees to look urgently at divesting from fossil fuels.

The ‘fiduciary responsibility’ of the trust is fully understood, so too the strong performance of the pension fund and its consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance issues. However, the argument for divesting from the fossil fuels sectors is now an investment one, regardless of the other reasons for doing so. It is in the best interests of the members of the Kent Pension scheme.

Don’t just take my word for it:

  • The Norwegian government has decided that its $900 billion sovereign wealth fund will sell off its coal investments, impacting 122 companies across the globe.
  • The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that fossil fuel companies cannot burn all of their reserves if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change and he has called for investors to consider the long-term impacts of their decisions.
  • The Environment Agency is moving its £2.9 billion pension fund out of coal and some oil and gas companies.
  • Bradford, Reading and York councils have decided to review their fossil fuel investments; Kirklees, Hackney, Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol councils are calling on their pension funds to divest.
  • Croydon council has switched its entire £350 million pension fund to a global ethical investment fund managed by Legal & General.
  • Eight universities have so far divested from fossil fuels.
  • The Quakers opted to divest in 2013 and other churches and faith groups have followed. The Church of England’s Church Commissioners, who manage investments worth £6 billion, took the decision to divest from tar sands oil and thermal coal in May 2015.
  • The United Nations supports divestment. Nick Nuttall, the spokesman for the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) said: “We support divestment as it sends a signal to companies, especially coal companies, that the age of ‘burn what you like, when you like’ cannot continue”.

Divestment from fossil fuel is becoming mainstream. Fossil fuel assets could be significantly devalued if a global deal to tackle climate change is reached. This is the so-called “carbon bubble”.

I believe that there is a fiduciary duty to review the fossil fuel investments of the Kent Pension and request the fund to undertake this.

Regards,

Martin Whybrow, KCC member, Green Party, Hythe

Tonbridge & Malling FoE Petititon to KCC on divestment from fossil fuels: Please sign and share the petition from Tonbridge & Malling Friends of the Earth to stop KCC investing in fossil fuels: http://tinyurl.com/kccdivest

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