Senedd backs proposals for public sector pension disinvestment
A motion that will see the end of Welsh public sector pensions investing in fossil fuels by 2030 has received cross-party support in the Senedd.
Welsh Government Ministers and Members of the Senedd backed the motion proposed by Jack Sargeant MS calling on the Welsh Government to work with the public sector to agree a strategy to decarbonise pensions.
This will bring pension funds in line with current Welsh Government targets for the public sector to be carbon neutral by the end of this decade, and if successful will mean Wales will be the first nation in the world to fully disinvest its public sector pension funds.
Mr Sargeant, Member of the Senedd for Alyn and Deeside led an individual member’s debate this week after working with Friends of the Earth Cymru in a bid to move pension funds towards sustainable investments in Wales.
Mr Sargeant says he wants the Welsh Government to build on being the first in the world to declare a climate emergency and take the next step of disinvesting in fossil fuels and putting money into community infrastructure projects such as social housing and public transport instead.
At present, public sector pension funds continue to invest millions of pounds in fossil fuel extraction across the globe, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking after the debate, Jack said: “I want Wales to lead the world and be the first nation to disinvest its pension funds from fossil fuels.
“In doing so, it could ignite a new era of investment in sustainable projects here in Wales, delivering high quality jobs and infrastructure for our local communities. I enjoyed leading the divestment debate this week, which received cross-party support.”
Speaking before the debate Bleddyn Lake, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Cymru said: “Science tells us that we only have a few years left in which to take decisive action if we are to avert the worst effects of climate change. It is vital therefore that we stop investing in fossil fuel companies.
“The public sector in Wales already have strategies in place to decarbonise and reach ‘net-zero climate emissions’ by 2030. Unfortunately, pensions aren’t included in those targets.
“There is a win-win situation just waiting to be grabbed here if the Welsh Government worked with the public sector to come up with a strategy to ditch the fossil fuels, decarbonise Welsh pension funds by 2030 and then work with the pension funds to invest in infrastructure projects in Wales.
“If we don’t act on climate change now, none of us will have a future worth retiring into.”
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