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Gwent pension fund urged to drop factory farming investments

written by Bella Palmer
pension-fund

The Greater Gwent pension fund’s investments of £5.5 million in livestock companies is the 10th highest in the UK

Animal welfare campaigners have called for a local government pension scheme run by Torfaen council to drop £5.5 million of investments in livestock companies.

The Greater Gwent (Torfaen) pension fund, whose members include staff from Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Newport, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly councils, is amongst the top 10 in the UK for investing in industrial livestock companies, according to research by environmental campaign group, Feedback and animal rights organisation, World Animal Protection.

Figures from Freedom of Information requests show ten local authority pension funds hold almost half of total investments in livestock companies, worth £110.6 million, including West Midlands, Swansea, Strathclyde, Clwyd South Yorkshire, Durham and Greater Gwent.

The Greater Gwent pension fund’s investments of £5.5 million in livestock companies including Tyson Foods and WH Group, is the 10th highest in the UK.

Campaigners say major industrial livestock companies like WH Group, based in China, and Tyson Foods, based in the US, have been linked to a series of environmental, public health and animal welfare concerns.

Martin Bowman, senior campaigner at Feedback, said: Industrial livestock corporations are simply not compatible with a climate-safe future and like fossil fuels, have no place in the pension portfolio of a climate-conscious local authority.

We’re calling on councils to divest their bonds and shares in these companies, so public money is not being used to fuel climate change, future pandemic risk, human rights abuses, deforestation and species loss which put the future security of pensions, people and planet under threat, he said.

A Torfaen council spokesman said the Gwent pension fund has ‘taken steps to cut the carbon footprint of its equity investments and aims to achieve net zero’ in accordance with government targets.

On top of reducing its carbon footprint, the pension fund is also committed to investment in renewable and sustainable solutions, the spokesman said.

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