Campaign group accuses LPFA of funding Trump’s oil pipelines

Written by Talya Misiri

The London Pensions Fund Authority has been accused of funding highly damaging fossil-fuel projects, including Donald Trump-backed oil pipelines, by campaign group Divest London.

Nine months on from Mayor Sadiq Khan’s election pledge to divest from the fossil fuel industry, it has been stated by the fossil fuel campaign group that the £4.6bn pension fund, managed by the LPFA, is still invested in coal, tar sands, fracking, oil and pipeline projects.

Divest London has criticised the Mayor for not sticking to his promise by removing the fund’s remaining fossil-fuel investments.

In addition, Divest London has argued that this pledge remains unfulfilled, despite the London Assembly’s motion, passed in December 2016, for City Hall and LPFA to fully divest from these companies.

Divest London campaigner Chelsea Edwards said: “In August 2015 Sadiq Khan’s ‘greener, cleaner’ election pledge to divest from fossil fuels was applauded, especially by the London Assembly who have passed motions two years running to fully divest City Hall’s £4.6bn fund. Yet nine months since he took office the London pension fund still props up the companies profiting most from catastrophic climate change.”

“It’s time for him to honour his election pledge to divest from all dirty fossil fuels and ensure our pensions aren’t funding Trump’s internationally-condemned oil projects.”

Companies that Divest London has said are being directly funded by the London Pension Fund Authority include: Energy Transfer Partners, ConocoPhilips and Marathon Petroleum, which are behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, and have been condemned for threatening water supplies and sacred land.

The Energy and Minerals Group, North America’s biggest pipeline company Kinder Morgan, oilfield services Schlumberger and Suncor, as well as other oil firms Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Gazprom, Petrobras, Total and BP, have also been listed by Divest London.

However, a spokesperson for LPFA disputed the claims: “Of their [Divest London's] list of companies involved in the Dakota pipeline, we have bonds in Energy Transfer Partners via a fund, but have no interest in ConocoPhilips or Marathon Petroleum.”

“As a pension fund we have a fiduciary duty to make investments where we see the best return for our stakeholders. Our key aim must be to ensure we can continue to pay pensions as they fall due. However, it is also our objective to use our influence as a large institutional investor to encourage responsible long-term behaviour in the companies in which we invest. We feel that engaging with companies on these issues is more productive than divesting.”

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