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Divest Derbyshire

Divest logo croppedTransition Chesterfield, together with 13 other groups all over Derbyshire, have a Divest Derbyshire campaign to get the Derbyshire Pension Fund to dis-invest from fossil fuels. The Pension Fund has around £290 million invested in fossil fuel companies.

The Youth Mayor of Derby, Philip Hutchinson, and other members of the Divest Derbyshire campaign hand the petition to Cllr Dave Wilcox, Chair of the Pensions and Investments Committee

In March 2017 we handed in over 1,000 signatures to the Chair of the Pensions and Investments Committee responsible for managing the fund, calling on them to dis-invest from existing investments in fossil fuels within 5 years. The Committee will discuss this at their meeting on 2 August 2017.

Our main objective is to reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change due to the burning of fossil fuels. However there are strong financial reasons for divesting from fossil fuels:

Fossil fuels are an investment risk – fossil fuel companies risk losing $33 trillion in revenue over the next 25 years as climate change forces companies to leave oil, natural gas and coal in the ground. Click here for a video featuring the Chair of Newton Investment Management explaining why fossil fuels are a bad investment.

The Pension Fund Committee must consider climate risk – as long term investors the Committee must examine the risks properly. The Pensions Regulator has pointed out that climate change could be “financially significant, both over the short and longer term”. Pension Trustees who fail to consider climate risk could be exposing themselves to legal challenge in the future.

Engagement is not working – the Pension Fund Committee has stated its position is one of engagement rather than divestment. We believe that while in some instances engagement can be very helpful, it is far less effective when what you are objecting to is part of a company’s core business. Even within the most “progressive” fossil fuel companies, oil and gas will continue to be the main part of their core business well beyond the point necessary to meet our carbon targets.

Alternative investments can provide value – while the Committee needs to provide good returns to finance the pension scheme, there are many other alternative investments that can provide value and which are environmentally and socially beneficial.

A growing number of local government pension schemes have decided to divest from fossil fuels including: The Environment Agency Pension Fund; South Yorkshire Pension Fund; Haringey Pension Fund; Waltham Forest Pension Fund; Southwark Pension Fund; Hackney Pension Fund. Institutions across the world are divesting including churches and universities. Ireland will be the first country to divest from fossil fuels

Click here to see our Divest Derbyshire Briefing Paper (2016) and Cover letter for petition (2017), and an FoE Briefing on why local government pension funds should divest from fossil fuels.

If you would like to help with the campaign or for more information please contact Lisa Hopkinson at divest@transitionchesterfield.org.uk

The Divest Derbyshire campaign is supported by the following organisations (in alphabetical order: Calow Against Gas Extraction (CAGE); Derby Climate Coalition; Glossopdale Transition Initiative; Melbourne Area Transition; Sustainable Edale; Sustainable Hayfield; Transition Belper; Transition BuxtonTransition Chesterfield, Transition Hope Valley, Transition MatlockTransition New Mills. Transition Wirksworth; University of Derby Students’ Union

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