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Cardiff and Vale pension fund still has £57m in fossil fuels

written by Bella Palmer

Across Wales, local government pension funds have £550 million invested in fossil fuels

Cardiff and Vale pension fund still has £57 million invested in fossil fuels, more than 18 months after Cardiff Council voted for divestment.

As of March last year, the local government fund pension fund had millions of pounds invested in companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Anglo American and ExxonMobil.

The data was recently revealed from research by environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth and Platform, which analysed local government pension funds across the UK. Across Wales, local government pension funds have £550 million invested in fossil fuels.

Cardiff and Vale is ahead of some Welsh pension funds, with Dyfed having twice as much in fossil fuels.

Bleddyn Lake, spokesman for Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: While some councils and pension funds have been more proactive than others, the fact that the eight local authority pension funds in Wales still invest a staggering £550 million in fossil fuels is outrageous.

Robert Noyes, campaigner and research at Platform, said: After a decade of austerity and the devastating economic impact of Covid across the UK, local councils can and should be using their pension funds to support local investment priorities.

Instead of making risky bets on fossil fuels, let’s channel the wealth in our pensions to local communities and build a better world beyond the pandemic. Whatever your stake in your pension, imagine what world you want to retire in, and push your pension to invest in it, he said.

Cardiff and Vale pension fund is making progress in divesting from fossil fuels. The fund has about £2 billion assets in total, so the £57 million is just 2.9 per cent of its total assets.

Most of its investments in fossil fuels are indirect: £24.6 million are in the Blackrock UK equity index fund, which invests in several companies, including some fossil fuel producers like Shell and BP. However, £16 million is directly invested in fossil fuel producers.

The fund is planning to switch a large part of its money into low carbon tracker funds, which exclude any companies that produce fossil fuels.

According to the campaigners’ research, the top 10 fossil fuel companies invested in by Cardiff and Vale are: £10.4 million in Royal Dutch Shell; £6.8 million in BHP; £6 million in Mitsubishi; £5.6 million in Mitsui; £5.2 million in BP; £3.2 million in Anglo American; £2.8 million in Glencore; £2.5 million in Sumitomo; £1.7 million in LG; and £1.3 million in ExxonMobil.

Mr Lake said: These pension funds, the Wales Pension Partnership and the Welsh Government should be sitting down to work out a plan to ditch fossil fuels and invest the money instead into projects in Wales to create jobs and give a good return on investment. The time for action is now.

A Cardiff Council spokesman said: We are happy to see that Friends of the Earth has recognised the strides Cardiff and Vale pension fund has already taken to divest funds from fossil fuel investments.

He said that we are committed to the de-carbonisation agenda and, while Cardiff council only administers the pension fund, we have made clear to our fund managers that divestment of fossil fuel funds is carried out as quickly as possible while protecting the interests of pension fund members.


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