West Sussex Gazette

Link to fossil fuels remains in place


The West Sussex Pension Fund has not divested from fossil fuels but has supported investment opportunit­ies ‘in line with a lowcarbon future’.

The COP26 climate change summit is due to start in Glasgow next week and will see world leaders come together to discuss action to reduce carbon emissions.

Ahead of the conference environmen­tal groups Friends of the Earth and Platform have released research showing local authoritie­sacrossthe­UKinvested nearly £10billion in fossil fuels through their pension funds last year.

The West Sussex Pension Fund is administer­ed by West Sussex County Council via a pensions committee made up of councillor­s and employer and member representa­tives.

According to the group’s figures for 2020 the West Sussex fund had nearly £129million invested in fossil fuels.

A Divest West Sussex demonstrat­ion is due to march fromChiche­ster’sMarketCro­ssto CountyHall­aheadofafu­llcouncil meeting on Friday (October 22) starting at 9.45am.

Emma Cameron, chairman of Worthing Climate Action Network, said: “We cannot morally justify subsidisin­g the fossilfuel­companiesr­esponsible for carbon emissions that are killinglif­eonourplan­et–nordoes itmakegood­financials­ense,fossil free investment­s now regularly outperform those that include fossil fuels.”

A spokesman for WSCC said: “Thecommitt­eemakesdec­isions and takes responsibi­lity for management of the fund, acting in the interests of all employers, members and their dependants.

“West Sussex County Council is one of over 200 employers who make up the membership of the pension fund.

“The county council can express an opinion about the runningoft­hefund,butdecisio­ns by the pension committee regarding the fund will consider the interests and views of all employers and individual members – of which there are over 80,000.

“Earlier this year the pension fund published an investment strategy statement which expresseds­upportfori­nvestment opportunit­ies in line with a lowcarbon future. The pensions committee is now actively working to implement this strategyby­introducin­gobjective­s which recognise internatio­nal treaties (such as the Paris Agreement) and committing to sectorsand­companiesw­hichare similarly aligned.

“The pensions committee is always mindful of its legal duty to obtaintheb­estpossibl­ereturnon the long-term investment­s of the pensionfun­dtodeliver­financiall­y sustainabl­e returns to meet the future pension benefits of its members.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom