Unison launches pensions carbon divestment campaign

Written by Theo Andrew

Unison has launched a campaign encouraging local government pension funds to divest £16bn from carbon initiatives.

The step-by-step guide, launched today, Wednesday 10 January 2018, will support local government schemes pushing for changes in the investment of their funds, in order to “explore alternative investment opportunities”.

The campaign, first announced at its 2017 annual conference, will allow schemes to go carbon free by selling their shares and bonds in in fossil fuels, which could amount to as much as £16bn according to figures published in a joint report, Fuelling the Fire.

Unison’s policy committee chair, James Anthony, said: “Pensions are meant to safeguard our future, but that future is threatened by the burning of carbon in fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.

“This campaign empowers people to hold their pension funds to account. If you contribute to a pension then it’s your money that’s being invested, and so it’s only right that you should have a say in where it’s invested.”

In addition, Unison highlighted the threat that this could have on the value of pension funds, following the implementation of new government regulations which have raised the costs of high-polluting industries, reducing their investment appeal.

In contrast, the trade union said that emerging green and clean technology has created lucrative new business opportunities for local pension funds.

In October, a YouGov poll for Good Money Week found over half, 57 per cent, of millennials demand fossil fuel free pension investments and in December, Labour leader Jeremy Corybn became the 100th MP to support fossil fuel divestment.

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