Addressing the concerns about the investment in fossil fuels
Cllr Robert Chapman, Chair of Pensions Committee, provides an update on how Hackney Council is addressing concerns about the investment in fossil fuels as part of its pension fund.
We are aware of the public concern and Divest campaign scrutinising local authorities’ approach to investment in fossil fuels as part of their pension funds, and we fully recognise that there would appear to be increasing evidence of the damaging impacts that fossil fuels can have on the environment. However, there are many issues the Committee will need to consider in the debate, so we have decided to dedicate an upcoming meeting to discussing our long-term investment in this area as part of the agenda.
The Pensions Committee has responsibilities towards those whose pensions it manages as well as other stakeholders which include local Council taxpayers; it needs to ensure the Pension Fund receives the best returns possible, while also managing a large pension fund and the various legal duties associated with that. By using our membership of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, we are able to raise matters of environmental, social and governance issues directly with companies with the backing a much larger group of local authority investors to give funds much greater bargaining power with large corporate organisations. This has led to local authorities withdrawing investment from organisations whose aims and behaviour do not align with their own in the past.
To ensure that the investment in fossil fuels debate can be looked at in detail, the Pension Committee meeting on 13 January will be discussing the issues surrounding fossil fuel investments as part of a wider agenda. A comprehensive paper is being prepared which will help to generate the discussion around the long-term investment in fossil fuels.
The details of the meeting will be released nearer the time on the Council’s meetings website.