Stop investing our pensions in companies that jeopardise our future
There's a new committee in town! And would you believe it, some of them not only understand what needs to be done to avert climate catastrophe, but we also hope will have enough common sense to recognise that failing shares are not a good investment.
Read on for SPAN's report on the failures of the former committee, and how the new improved SPF committee can finally make the smart financial and ethical choices for Surrey residents money.
SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL HAS BEEN LOSING OUR MONEY...
whilst jeopardising the future of Surrey residents by investing in companies that are driving ecological collapse, mass extinction, and climate breakdown.
Surrey Pension Fund Committee's refusal to divest the pension fund from fossil fuels has resulted in losses of
£130 mllion in the three and a half years since May 2017
Yet the Pension Fund Committee for 5 years refused to even consider withdrawing investment from these slumping shares - and worse, the previous Chair of the Pension Fund, Tim Evans, called these losses 'not relevant'. We think the people of Surrey might hold a different view. These losses have to be paid for by Council Tax payers, albeit over a number of years.
BUT! Following May 2021 elections the Surrey Pension Fund committee has been repopulated, and better yet, there are now some excellent councillors on the SPF committee who understand the threat of the climate crisis, AND we hope will have enough common sense to acknowledge that investments in the worst performing sector are not something to blindly hold on to!
News is coming thick and fast on the death throes of the fossil fuel industry, and last month (May 2021) the International Energy Agency released the most damning report to date on the future of fossil fuels, announcing the requirements to avoid climate catastrophe include, "From 2021: No new oil and gas fields approved for development; no new coal mines".
NEW COMMITTEE, NEW START?
Over the last 4 years, by continuing to own fossil fuels, SPF has pursued a climate risk strategy which was sub-optimal. Simultaneously, this strategy resulted in lower financial returns, increased risks and was morally indefensible.
In our assessment of Surrey Pension Fund's performance, we analyse six areas where SPF has fallen short, together with recommendations for a future which will protect the planet and benefit fund members and their pensions:
Engagement, the Fund’s chosen investment strategy, isn’t working
Abysmal financial returns from the fossil fuel sector.
The risk of stranded assets vs the energy opportunity of this decade
Fund members are ill-informed and not consulted
The compelling moral argument for divestment.
6. Border to Coast Pension Pool
And closing with SPAN's Recommended Actions
While you're at it, check out the financial case for divestment of Surrey's pensions.
Surrey Pension Fund still holds c. £80m in dirty fossil fuels and these risk becoming 'stranded assets' as the former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned.
It is ever more clear that the fossil fuel era is ending, signalled by the rapid growth in renewable energy supply, the mass production of electric vehicles and governments at last recognising the imperative to act."
"Climate breakdown could render investments held by millions of people worthless"