Senedd Members call for pension funds to disinvest from fossil fuels
More than a third of Senedd Members have signed Labour MS Jack Sargeant’s open letter to members of the Wales Pension Partnership, calling on them to support work being done to disinvest public sector pensions from fossil fuels.
The pension partnership is responsible for investing employer and employee pension contributions on behalf of workers in the Welsh public sector.
The letter comes after Mr Sargeant, who represents Alyn & Deeside, led a successful debate last year which called on the Welsh Government to support the move.
Since then, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has shown support as have many council leaders.
Mr Sargeant now wants the Wales Pension Partnership, which administers the fund, to back the move. He said: “I want Wales to be the first nation in the world to disinvest public sector pensions. We set an ambitious target in last year’s motion of disinvesting the funds by 2030 and good progress is being made but it is time for the WPP to get on board. This is about averting climate disaster, protecting the funds and of course listening to members of the funds who, like the rest of us, have real concerns about global warming.”
The open letter states: “In May 2022, working with Friends of the Earth Cymru, I tabled a Senedd motion calling for the Welsh Government to work with the public sector to agree a strategy to decarbonise pensions by 2030, thus bringing them into line with current public sector net-zero targets.
“The motion was passed with 35 MSs voting in favour with 1 voting against and 12 abstentions. The Welsh Government’s Minister for Finance and Local Government Rebecca Evans also signalled Welsh Government support for the motion.
“A year on from this motion, we the undersigned Senedd Members reiterate our call for public sector pension funds in Wales to agree a strategy and timetable to decarbonise public sector pensions in Wales by 2030.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in March this year that: ‘In this decade, accelerated action to adapt to climate change is essential to close the gap between existing adaptation and what is needed. Meanwhile, keeping warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors.’
“It is vital therefore that all sectors in Wales work towards a common goal of net zero emissions and a timeframe of 2030 for public sector pensions to achieve this would bring them in line with existing public sector net zero targets.
“We would also like to praise and support the work being done by the WLGA to bring together council leaders and others to debate these issues and seek a way forward.
It is absolutely vital that we in Wales continue to scale up our actions and ambitions on tackling climate change. How money, including public sector pensions, is invested, is a major part of this.
“We therefore call on the Wales Pension Partnership and the eight local government pension funds in Wales (Dyfed, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Clwyd, Gwynedd, Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan, Powys, City and County of Swansea and Greater Gwent (Torfaen)) to work with the WLGA, the Welsh Government and other relevant partners to agree a strategy to decarbonise public sector pensions by 2030.”
In addition to Mr Sargeant, the letter has been signed by Labour MSs Alun Davies, Buffy Williams, Carolyn Thomas, David Rees, Hefin David, Huw Irranca-Davies, Jayne Bryant, Rhianon Passmore, Sarah Murphy and Vikki Howells; Plaid Cymru MSs Cefin Campbell, Delyth Jewell, Heledd Fychan, Llyr Gruffydd, Peredur Owen Griffiths, Luke Fletcher, Sian Gwenllian and Sioned Williams; Independent MS Rhys Ab Owen and Jane Dodds, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
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