Fossil fuel divestment
Propsed by Cllr Hayes, seconded by Cllr Turner
Labour member motion
Oxford City Council welcomes Oxfordshire Local Government Pension Fund’s climate-focused ambitions for its pension investments.
This Council welcomes the following changes by the Pension Fund as additions to an earlier decision to switch five per cent of its assets into a low carbon fund:
· To switch another six per cent of assets into a new Sustainable Equities Fund being developed by Brunel Pension Partnership, the company owned by Local Government Pension Funds to manage investments on their behalf.
· To introduce the target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from investments by 7.6% p.a. in line with the Paris Agreement and a maximum 1.5°C increase in global temperatures. The world needs more business plans to be in line with or improve on the 2015 Paris Accord agreement over emission paths.
1. This Council congratulates the following for their contributions:
· Oxfordshire Pension Fund has travelled far in its plans to respond to the risks of climate breakdown, and this Council congratulates the Committee.
· the campaign group Fossil Free Oxfordshire and UNISON for co-operation with the Pension Fund and looks forward to seeing further collaboration.
Taking money out of fossil fuels is the right thing to do. It is also the financially prudent thing to do. Keeping fossil fuel companies in a portfolio reduces its total value, fossil fuel investments risk becoming ‘stranded assets’, and the climate crisis threatens the global economy and the ability of the Oxfordshire Local Government Pension Scheme to meet its liabilities.
In passing fossil fuel divestment motions, this Council has made clear that it makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future.
2. Oxfordshire Pension Fund’s journey must be completed.
This Council asks the Leader to write to Oxfordshire Pension Fund to:
· ensure the pledges to decarbonise the fund are underpinned by metrics that ensure the target emissions reductions will be met, including those that measure exposure to fossil fuel producers, not just fossil fuel users.
· request confirmation that it will exclude from the portfolio any companies that continue to explore for or develop new fossil fuel reserves.
· review the entire Climate Change Policy and Implementation Plan by 2022 at the latest, including 1) the effectiveness of engagement as stated in the implementation plan and; 2) progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (rather than waiting until 2025 as suggested in the implementation plan).
However ambitious a pension fund pool member may be, the pace toward emissions reductions of 7.6% p.a. will be limited by the fund offerings provided by Brunel.
Brunel has shown recent climate leadership, but this Council asks the Leader to write to Oxfordshire Pension Fund to urge Brunel to go further by:
· making a formal request to provide a range of funds that enable it to meet its 7.6% p.a. target while spreading risk, including zero carbon passive and managed funds.
· writing an open letter asking Brunel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of all portfolios by 7.6% p.a. and to reduce the fossil fuel reserves exposure of their existing portfolios.
This motion was not taken as the time allocated for debate had finished.