Parliament pension fund makes record investment in renewables

The UK's parliamentary pension fund has allocated 5% of its investments to renewable energy infrastructure for the first time following cross-party pressure from MPs.

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The £733m pension fund's annual report for 2019 also shows that it has slashed its holdings in fossil fuel companies through the use of 'low-carbon' investment vehicles.

However, the fund remains heavily invested in Royal Dutch Shell and BP, holding £8m and £4.4m in the two companies respectively.

This is despite 360 serving and former MPs supporting the cross-party Divest Parliament initiative, which calls on the pension fund's trustees to end its fossil fuel investments.

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP driving the campaign, said: “Parliament declared a climate emergency nearly a year ago, and the parliamentary pension fund needs to fall into line with this by ending the support for fossil fuels.  

“These investments cannot be justified on ethical, environmental or financial grounds, and they undermine MPs’ credibility in addressing the climate emergency. They have to stop.”

Over 1,000 institutions worldwide with assets worth over £12trn have cut ties with fossil fuels, and the Welsh Assembly Members Pension Fund recently committed to phase out all fossil fuel holdings by 2023.

Every Labour leadership candidate support the Divest Parliament initiative, along with the leaders of the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, as well as senior Conservatives.

Under pressure from MPs, the parliamentary pension fund committed to develop a new “climate change investment policy” last year, but the policy has been delayed and no publication date is confirmed.

Divest Parliament said that many newly-elected MPs support the campaign, and that the UK has an opportunity to lead on sustainable investments at November's COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

“It is encouraging that the trustees of the MPs' Pension Fund are finally starting to move investments away from fossil fuels and towards renewables, and we will keep working with MPs from across the political spectrum to ensure the fund commits to completely eliminating its fossil fuel investments before COP26," said Divest Parliament campaigner Tytus Murphy.

 

Image credit: iStock

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