The Greater Manchester Pension Fund must divest from fossil fuels, not only to protect the planet, but to protect the pensions of thousands of people across the region. At the next full meeting of Oldham Council (Wednesday 14 July 2021), the Liberal Democrats will propose a motion to deliver exactly that.
Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani, who will be proposing the motion, said: “It is time the Greater Manchester Pension Fund did the right thing by our environment and pulled out the money invested in fossil fuel industries that massively contribute to global warming, and instead reinvest it in green technologies which do good.”
The Fund is currently one of the biggest investors in fossil fuels with over £1.7 billion in the oil, coal and gas industries.
“As an employer, Oldham Council pays into the fund to top up the contributions of our employees, yet we are a Council committed to becoming carbon neutral within five years,” added Councillor Al-Hamdani. “How can we achieve our goal of carbon neutrality when our money continues to bolster a fund that is so invested in industries which contribute to the destruction of our environment and the pollution of our air?”
The motion is being backed by Councillor Louie Hamblett. He explained that divestment is not only ethical, it also makes financial sense.
“To prevent irreversible global warming at least 80% of all proven fossil fuels must remain in the ground and unburnt. This will mean the rapid decline in the operations of fossil fuel companies and a rapid decline in the value of fossil fuel stocks.
“Green investment has become more and more attractive financially, and when the stock market crashed at the start of coronavirus, it was sustainable investments that bounced back first.
“It is surely commonsense to divest now, whilst fossil fuel stocks have value, and reinvest the money in environmentally sustainable businesses. It will preserve the value of the fund, ensure future returns to people across Greater Manchester, and do good by our planet.”