Council pension funds invested in fracking firms
Campaigners critise authority after £60 million figure revealed
MORE than £60 million has been invested by Bucks County Council’s pension fund in companies which rely on fracking, according to a charity’s research.
Across the country £9 billion has been invested in companies involved in fracking by UK council pension funds, the charities 350.org, Platform and Friends of the Earth have found.
The process of forcing liquid at high pressure into the earth to open up fissures to extract oil and gas - commonly known as ‘fracking’ - has proven controversial.
Campaigners say it can cause environmental damage, polluting water sources and causing tremors. John Chilver, the county council’s cabinet member for resources, said the Buckinghamshire Pension Fund Committee manages the Buckinghamshire Local Government Pension Scheme on behalf of more than 200 employers across the county.
He claimed the committee’s investment strategy recognises that environmental, social and corporate governance issues, including climate change, can have materially significant investment implications, and that as a responsible investor the committee considers such issues in all investment decisions.
According to a council spokesman, the committee believes that engaging with investee companies on all issues to deliver long term change delivers a more responsible investment approach than a blanket decision to divest from any group of companies.
Cllr Chilver said: “The committee is working alongside the other pen- sion funds within the Brunel Pension Partnership to further develop their approach on these issues, and to improve the reporting in this area, including demonstrating the impact of our engagement with the fossil fuel companies.”
Sakina Sheikh, divestment campaigner with Platform, said: “The devastating fires and record temperatures this summer have brought the impacts of climate change home.
“Neither local communities or our climate can afford for the fracking industry to win.
“Our councils are providing everyday support to the frackers, it’s time to stop. It’s time to divest from fossil fuels.”
Deirdre Duff, divestment campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said: “UK councils should know better than to invest in fracking companies.
“These companies are inflicting their fracking operations on communities around the world, and this can have significant impacts.
“Many UK councils have rightly opposed fracking in their own area – however it is shocking that they still support the global fracking industry.
“We should remember too that the climate change caused by fracking will affect us all, no matter where the fracking is conducted.”
A fracking drill rig