Our pension is for the future, not climate destruction – the WMPF needs to act now

 West Midlands Pensions Fund invests an estimated £187 million in dirty fossil fuels which are driving the climate crisis and endangering the very future local people are saving for. Wildfires ravaging the western United States, Bangladesh drowning and Siberia experiencing a 38C heat wave all show the destructive power of fossil fuels to destroy the stable climate system all humans depend on.

Yet despite the ongoing collapse of the fossil fuel industry jeopardising investment returns, and despite the industry continuing to fight climate policy and block the transition, WMPF still refuse to divest, favouring a failed strategy of engaging with the polluters.

Councillor Reynolds suggested in the June Pensions Committee meeting that divestment could happen, but would take a long time. We ask: if not now, when? Only ten years remain to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by half. This requires 7% annual reductions. Instead of funding companies that continue to drill, WMPF should invest in the green revolution and divest from fossil fuels starting now.

Please email your local member or members of the Pensions Committee to show your support for divestment.

from Divest WMPF

Who to contact at WMPF:

The WMPF Committee comprises 15 Councillors, mainly from Wolverhampton which administers the WMPF, but including Cllr Muhammad Afzal from Birmingham, and also 3 trade union representatives:

  • Martin Clift, Unite (t: 07957 486775)
  • Ian Smith, Unite (t: 07704 900582)
  • Malcolm Cantello, Unison (07961 088718)

The WMPF Board includes employers and union representatives. The union reps are:

  • Adrian Turner (Unison) (vice-chair)
  • Sharon Campion (unison)
  • Stan Ruddock (Unite)
  • Michael Foxall (Unite)
  • The GMB rep is vacant.

From the West Midlands Pensions Fund website:

Evidence-Based Beliefs Related to Climate Change

1 Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”),  we acknowledge that the Earth’s climate is changing as a result of  anthropogenic activity. Unabated, such change would be devastating for our way of life.

2 Consistently with Lord Stern’s research, we hold that the economic  damages of unabated climate change are greater than the costs of  precautionary mitigation.

3 We believe that climate change is financially material across all major asset classes. In support of fiduciary duty, the risks and opportunities presented by climate change should be mitigated and exploited by asset allocation decisions, by individual investment decisions, and through purposeful stewardship.

4 Climate change has the potential to impact the funding level of the pension fund through impacts on employer covenant, asset pricing, and longer-term inflation, interest rates and life expectancy.

5 We strongly support the Paris Agreement on climate change.

6 An ambitious and just energy transition, aligned with the Paris  Agreement, requires global greenhouse gas emissions (“GHGs”) to peak around 2020, and to decline to net zero well before the end of this century.

7 The energy transition will not occur by focussing only on suppliers of energy. The demand for energy must also undergo a major transformation.

8 We think that market mechanisms, including a sufficient and stable carbon pricing regime, are important policy instruments to achieve meaningful GHG reductions.

9 It is possible for a high-emitting company to shift its business model and thrive in the transition to a low carbon future.

10 We would be less likely to realise a Paris-aligned energy transition were responsible investors to cease owning and stewarding high emitting companies. Strong governance is essential for climate awareness and risk management.

11 No individual investor is influential enough to act alone, nor is the investment industry sufficient to achieve the required rate of change.  Policy makers, consumers, companies and investors all have a role to play.

12 Climate-aware decisions can only be made with accurate, relevant, complete, and comparable data.



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