Divest logo croppedTransition Chesterfield, together with 20 other groups all over Derbyshire, have a Divest Derbyshire campaign to get the Derbyshire Pension Fund to dis-invest (divest) from fossil fuels. The Pension Fund has around £260 million invested in fossil fuel companies, including £183 million in companies with major fracking operations. A Derbyshire Times report on their fracking investments can be found here.  More details on investments can be found here.

Latest news: In December 2018 we asked a public question about divestment and received a detailed response at a full meeting of Derbyshire County Council. In September 2018 we submitted comments on the Derbyshire Pension Fund Investment Strategy, calling for stocks to be excluded where there is evidence there are long term financial risks. In September 2018 the Divest Fracking campaign revealed that UK Councils are investing millions in the global fracking industry. In April 2018 Toby Perkins MP signed the Divest Parliament pledge. In March 2018 Derby City Councillors voted overwhelmingly for a motion calling on the Derbyshire Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels. In August 2017 we made a presentation to the Derbyshire Pensions 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.

What you can do: Please email your local Councillor with this easy tool to ask them to support the campaign to divest our council funds. Instead let’s invest in green jobs and technologies in Derbyshire.

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

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. In November 2017 the world’s large sovereign wealth fund announced it was divesting from oil and gas to avoid the fund’s value being hit by a permanent fall in the oil price.

Click here to see our Divest Derbyshire Briefing Paper (2016) and Cover letter for petition (2017), and a Friends of the Earth 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:
Amber Valley Against Fracking,
Bolsover Against Fracking
Calow Against Gas Extraction (CAGE),
Chesterfield and District TUC,
Chesterfield Climate Alliance,
Clay Cross Against Fracking,
Creswell Against Fracking,
Derby Climate Coalition,
Eckington Against Fracking,
Glossopdale Transition Initiative,
Melbourne Area Transition,
Sustainable Edale,
Sustainable Hayfield,
Transition Belper,
Transition Buxton,
Transition Chesterfield,
Transition Hope Valley,
Transition Matlock,
Transition New Mills.
Transition Wirksworth;
University of Derby Students’ Union