15th March 2018

Statement from Fossil Free Greater Manchester in response to Greater Manchester  Pension Fund’s formal response to our campaign.

There is  just one week to go before the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Green Summit that is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality for the city region as early as possible.  We are therefore pleased to report some progress in our campaign for the Greater Manchester Pension Fund to ditch its £1.8 billion of investments in fossil fuel companies. But we now urge them to put their words into action.  Read on to see how you can help.

What GMPF say

GMPF wrote a 14 page letter last November saying that they recognise the risks of climate change and are committed to decarbonising their portfolio by 2050. GMPF now say that their current approach could be called “partial divestment” – a first for the Fund.

The good bits

The things to welcome in the letter include:

  • Multiple statements about risks from climate change
  • The statement that “there is a place for disinvestment”, and that the Fund has done it before.
  • That they could call their evolving approach “partial divestment”
  • Their positive investments in green infrastructure
  • A commitment to transparency

The gaps

But we must challenge the lack of ambition and the very weak case against eventual full divestment. For example, the following two statements are made without any evidence to back them up:

  • Divestment “creates an unacceptable risk”;
  • “The pace of decarbonisation must be consistent with our risk framework”, with the implication that going faster would not be consistent with that framework.

How you can help

Supporters of our campaign might like to ask the Fund to explain why it’s lagging behind other major cities such as New York, Paris and Stockholm, and nearby regions such as Merseyside and South Yorkshire, which have recently committed to divest from fossil fuels.

You can write to GMPF’s new chair, Cllr Brenda Warrington (her contact details are on this page):

  • congratulating the Fund on its commitment to partial divestment and making its portfolio compatible with the Paris Agreement;
  • warning that 2050 is way too late and that urgent action is needed to protect scheme members from the financial and environmental impacts of climate change
  • calling on the Fund to divest from the most polluting fossil fuels, such as coal and tar sands, by 2020 and to fully divest from fossil fuels by 2023

Thank you for your continued support in helping us to clean up the dirtiest pension fund in the country!

Fossil Free Greater Manchester

P.S. If you’d like to read our full response to GMPF’s letter, visit: http://fossilfreegm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/FFGM-Response-to-GMPF-letter-of-28-Nov-final.pdf