Greater Manchester Fossil Fuel Divestment

I think the my email below says it all really.

Re consultation on the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF)'s draft Statement of Investment Principles:

I am deeply concerned about the lacklustre response from commercial and political corners with regard to the (now well understood and frequently explained) dangers of climate change due to the use of fossil fuels. The most powerful way to push investment to cleaner technologies is to show the markets that fossil fuels are no longer a desirable investment choice. The redrafting of the GMPF's Statement of Investment Principles is a valuable opportunity to add momentum to this movement away from fossil fuels.

At the moment, divestment from fossil fuel investments lags far behind our knowledge of the dangers of making investment available to this sector. The GMPF is the biggest local authority pension fund in the country and its divestment from fossil fuels would send a clear and vital message to the markets that change is needed now.

Please do not pass up this opportunity to make a huge contribution to a movement that will benefit billions of people, including ourselves, now and in the coming decades. The short-term profit-focus of the markets has a stranglehold on the direction of our technological innovation at this extremely delicate juncture in our history and it is only through the actions of powerful interests like the GMPF that we stand a chance of preventing disruptive and destructive climate change.

As much as I welcome last year's decision to divest from tobacco companies, no one can deny that this change lagged far behind the knowledge of the damage that tobacco companies are responsible for. Now the GMPF has the chance to be a leader and an exemplar in averting a far greater threat.

I ask the GMPF to:

  1. Amend the draft Statement of Investment Principles to include a principle that the Fund will actively choose to invest in and divest from companies based on social, ethical and environmental considerations.

  2. Divest from fossil fuel companies because of their impact on people and the environment, and the financial risk to pension scheme members.

  3. Invest in positive alternatives such as renewables and energy efficiency in Greater Manchester, which will help tackle climate change and create jobs for local people.

Justin Hellings

I'm a geek in a world that insists on being irrational and a greenie in a society that insists on speeding towards its own destruction. There's some work to be done here. Nah, let's go snowboard. Woo!

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