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UK pension funds have invested £128 billion in fossil fuels

written by Bella Palmer
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The findings come days before the start of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow and suggest the equivalent of nearly £2000 for every person in the UK has been sunk into the polluting industry

UK pension funds have invested as much as £128 billion in fossil fuels, according to new research by Friends of the Earth.

The findings come days before the start of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow and suggest the equivalent of nearly £2000 for every person in the UK has been sunk into the polluting industry. The claims are based on analysis into the investments of six of the UK’s largest pension funds, with the average investment in fossil fuels found to be 4.3%. The headline sum is calculated by applying that sum across the whole pension sector.

Friends of the Earth Scotland joined colleagues in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the report, which is out today.

A recent review by the Work and Pensions Select Committee concluded that the UK Government should use COP26 to encourage other countries to follow the UK’s lead on climate and pensions, but the charities claim their work “suggests the UK pensions industry makes a poor role model”.

Rianna Gargiulo of Friends of the Earth said: With mere days until the UK hosts the UN Climate Change Conference and at a time when public concern about climate change is consistently growing, this report shows that pension funds are desperately lagging behind on climate action.

Beyond that, pension funds are also playing fast and loose with workers’ hard-earned contributions by continuing to invest them in an industry in decline. Anyone shocked to hear that their pension may be heavily invested in fossil fuel polluters should write to their pension fund, ask about its investments in the industry and call on it to divest.

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