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To: Wandsworth Council Joint Pensions Committee
Wandsworth Council to Divest from fossil fuels
We are calling on Wandsworth Council to divest the £137,000,000 from it's pension fund that it currently invests in the fossil fuel industry.
We want a clear ‘declaration of principle’ of the pension trustees to divest 100% of all fossil fuels holdings, direct and indirect, in accordance with a defined deadline.
Re-investment of the same funds into and low/zero-carbon and ethical alternatives to directly contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Why is this important?
Investing in carbon-intensive industries contributes to global warming and is contradictory to Wandsworth Council’s published commitment to “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to slow down climate change and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Local governments have a moral duty and legal obligation to act for the public good to protect the global and local environment. Continuing to invest in fossil fuel industries is a blatant disregard of these duties. As it currently stands, the London Borough of Wandsworth pension fund has has £137,628,569 invested, directly and indirectly, in fossil fuel industries.
Proven fossil fuel reserves (2,795 gigatons of CO2) exceed the total carbon budget we are able to burn (565 gigatons) by a factor of five. As these ‘proven’ reserves have been factored into the share price of the fossil fuel companies already, this represents a serious overvaluing of these companies’ share prices. The unusable fossil fuel reserves run a high risk of becoming a ‘stranded’ or worthless asset and a poor investment.
The size of this ‘carbon bubble’ has been estimated at $4 trillion. By investing public money in assets that cannot be realised in the future due to stringent policy and legal restrictions; the current approach is financially irresponsible and likely to breach fiduciary duties.
There are ethical, environmental and economic imperatives for the council to divest from fossil fuels immediately and re-invest in sustainable funds.