Our commitment to further reduce our pension fund investment in fossil fuels
Cllr Rob Chapman, Cabinet Member for Finance and Chair of the Council’s Pensions Fund, said:
“Hackney Council is passionate about responding to the climate emergency because we have to protect the planet for future generations, and because our climate response goes hand-in-hand with rebuilding a greener Hackney - creating cleaner air, healthier lives and better neighbourhoods for all of us.
“Our vision is for the borough to be: greener, with more trees and wildlife; healthier, with more of us walking, cycling and taking public transport; and, cleaner, with better air quality.
“An important aspect of this work is our commitment to reduce the Pension Fund’s 'exposure' to fossil fuel reserves. To date we have achieved this by moving away from carbon intense investment mandates and seeking more sustainable investment opportunities. We have also reduced the Fund’s overall exposure to fossil fuel-related equities. Alongside this, the Fund is seeking to make a positive impact through investments in renewable infrastructure mandates and other asset classes.
“The Hackney Pension Committee, of which I am chair, agreed in 2016 to reduce the fund’s exposure to fossil fuel reserves by 50 per cent, by 2022, in line with the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C. We were the first council in the country to make this commitment.
“Although the target was set before the Council’s declaration of a global climate emergency in 2019, it aligns with the Council’s overall commitment to combat climate change.
“By 2019, the fund had already reduced its exposure by 31%. Since then, further reductions have been achieved; by investing in areas such as renewable infrastructure, and very recently in the Baillie Gifford Global Alpha Paris-Aligned Equity Fund, which focus investments in areas much less likely to be exposed to fossil fuel investment. Having already hit a 60% reduction point of the target, we are confident that the fund will have fully met, if not exceeded, its target by 2022.
“The Local Authority Investment Fund Forum-LAPFF, of which Hackney's Pension Fund is an active member, has been instrumental in engaging with companies on climate change and other environmental, social, and governance issues. We should not underestimate the effect of changes in the behaviour of companies influenced through this engagement.
“Our Pensions Committee will be refreshing its climate change strategy and target in March; this will reflect a move towards the Council’s climate emergency commitment to become carbon neutral by 2040 – a target 10 years earlier than that set by the central government; and acknowledge the financial risk of unaddressed climate change.”