22nd September 2017

Today we handed in our petition with more than 5,000 signatures calling on GMPF to divest from fossil fuels.  At the end of the Fund’s Annual General Meeting, the Chair, Councillor Kieran Quinn, accepted the petition to which the Fund will respond.  We now look forward to an informed discussion on climate risk and responsible investment at the Fund’s Stewardship event on 19 October.
Our press release follows.

News release: 5000 people call for GM Pension Fund to ditch fossil fuels

Don't be a fossil GMPF!

Don’t be a fossil GMPF!

A petition calling for Greater Manchester’s local authority pension fund (GMPF) to ditch dirty coal, oil and gas stocks will be handed in to the GMPF’s Annual General Meeting.

Since the petition launch, over 5000 people have expressed their dismay at the Greater Manchester Pension Fund’s ongoing policy to invest in climate polluters. [1]

This response from Greater Manchester people came after it was revealed that over £1bn of local pensioners’ cash lies with coal, oil and gas giants. [2]

Today, campaign group Fossil Free Greater Manchester is set to hand in this petition at the fund’s annual general meeting which is being held in Droylsden.

Chris Smith, a spokesperson for Fossil Free Greater Manchester, said:

“With governments and car manufacturers across the world announcing their intention to ditch fossil fuels, any investments in fossil fuels are likely to become ‘stranded assets’ and are ‘unburnable’.

Today, the pensioners of Greater Manchester and the public at large send a clear signal to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund: get out of fossil fuels before it’s too late.”

Nearly 750 organisations, representing $5.5 trillion of investment have recognised that fossil fuel companies are risky investments because of ‘unburnable carbon’ assets, and are divesting from fossil fuels. These include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund and the British Medical Association. [3]

— ENDS —

PHOTO CALL: At 12.30pm on Friday 22 September, Fossil Free Greater Manchester campaigners will be outside the GMPF office with a giant ‘investment dinosaur’ to hand in a petition. Location: Guardsman Tony Downes House, 5 Manchester Road, Droylsden, M43 6SF

Contact for details: Ali Abbas, Fossil Free Greater Manchester. Mobile: 07786 090520

Notes to editors:

[1] The petition called on Greater Manchester Pension Fund to:

  • Immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies.
  • Divest from any company which is involved in the exploration or production of coal and unconventional oil or gas within two years, and from all fossil fuel companies within five years.
  • Work with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to develop and fund a low-carbon investment programme for Greater Manchester.

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/demand-greater-manchester-divests-from-fossil-fuels

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/sep/25/council-staff-campaigning-divest-pensions-fossil-fuels

[3] http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/

[4] For more information on the climate risk facing hundreds of thousands of Greater Manchester local authority pension fund holders, please visit fossilfreegm.org.uk