Hertfordshire LGPS fund cuts fossil fuel investment by almost half

The Hertfordshire Local Government Pension Scheme fund has almost halved the size of its investments in fossil fuels from £94m in December 2019 to £48m in June 2020.

A report presented to Hertfordshire County Council’s performance and resources cabinet panel also showed that the scheme’s portfolio value has increased from £5,171m to £5,394m over the same period of time, meaning that the proportion of the portfolio made up of fossil fuel investments has decreased from 1.8 per cent to 0.9 per cent.

The report was assembled in response to a motion proposed to the council at a meeting on 25 February 2020, which called for divestment from fossil fuels by divesting from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within three years.

The motion also said an approach should be established to quantify and address climate change risks affecting all other investments, while it was also recommended that the scheme begin actively seeking to invest in companies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimise climate change risk.

Furthermore, the motion called for the formulation of a responsible investment policy that did not involve new investments in fossil fuel companies.

The report said the scheme, which includes over 100,000 members and 300 employers, currently has a responsible investment policy in the works, with the next stage in its development being decisions over analysis and reporting.

Finally, the Pension Committee also agreed to measure the fund’s carbon footprint as of September 2019 to use as a benchmark for the scheme’s investment impact and future comparisons, with the fund set to undertake annual analysis to track its carbon intensity and potential emissions over time.

The council had faced pressure from activists to make changes to its investment strategy, with a Divest Herts petition signed by more than 900 people calling for the scheme to stop investing in fossil fuel companies being presented at the same meeting.

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