The parliamentary pension fund for MPs is still investing in fossil fuels despite parliament declaring a climate emergency, new figures show.
The fund is still heavily invested in Shell (£8m) and BP (£4.4m) despite over 350 current and former MPs backing a campaign to set a good example by diverting cash elsewhere.
MPs have however welcomed news in the fund’s latest filings that it is increasingly shifting its cash towards renewable energy – with five per cent of investments going to the green sector for the first time.
“Investing in clean energy is clearly the right thing to do, financially and for the future of our planet, so I’m glad the Parliamentary Pension Fund is doing this. But it has to also stop investing in Shell and BP,” said Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, who has championed the cross-party Divest Parliament initiative.
“Parliament declared a climate emergency nearly a year ago, and the parliamentary pension fund needs to fall into line with this by ending the support for fossil fuels.
“These investments cannot be justified on ethical, environmental or financial grounds, and they undermine MPs’ credibility in addressing the climate emergency. They have to stop.”
Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is showing the devastating effects a major crisis can have to all areas of society. The climate crisis risks being even worse – unless we take urgent action.
“Transitioning our economy away from fossil fuels is paramount and Parliament must lead the way, which is why I joined the Divest Parliament initiative as a newly elected MP. My pension shouldn’t be used to fuel the climate crisis and I call on the trustees of our MP pension fund to divest fully from fossil fuel companies.”
Even government ministers have previously called for pension funds in general to “shift their portfolios towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuels”.
While progress has been slow to divesting from fossil fuels, the fund is making some progress. Its latest 2019 annual report shows that compared to the 2018 report, the investment in BP PLC has decreased by 62 per cent and the investment in Royal Dutch Shell has fallen by 26 per cent.
The pressure on the parliamentary fund is part of a wider campaign by environmentalists calling on public bodies like councils to divest from fossil fuels and other damaging or unethical businesses.Source: Independent