Sheffield Labour councillors have welcomed the announcement that South Yorkshire Pension’s Fund will become fossil-free by 2030. This reflects Sheffield City Councils goal of being Net Zero by 2030.
The fossil-free target has been set as part of South Yorkshire Pension Authority’s (SYPA) annual review of policies on responsible investment issues, including its Climate Change Policy.
It was agreed by members of the authority for work to be undertaken looking at all pension investments – in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of the overall level of emissions from the portfolio, alongside a range of other impacts related to the environment.
SYPA are part of a wider pension arrangement, along with 10 other pension authority’s covering local government pay, and work will now be undertake to ensure that all investment from this arrangement will be disinvested from fossil fuels.
Sheffield Labour councillor Anne Murphy, Crookes and Crosspool is one of Sheffield City Council’s representatives on the authority and commented:
“Sheffield Labour Councillors are absolutely committed to improving the environment and moving away from fossil fuel consumption towards more sustainable sources of energy.
“In 2016 we committed Sheffield Council to not directly invest in any organisations involved in fossil fuels, and to move all previous investments. This was enshrined within Labour’s Ethical Procurment Strategy which committed the Council “to not hold any direct investment in fossil fuels, or to the best of our knowledge companies involved in tax evasion or grave misconduct”
“As such the Council no longer invests any of its funds or reserves in fossil fuel companies. However, the situation regarding the council’s pension funds is much more difficult. Sheffield City Council is part of the South Yorkshire Pension Authority, who in turn is part of a wider group authorities, and we have been to working hard to see an ambitious target of carbon neutral by 2030 – including the divestment from the fossil fuel industry”
Labour Councillor Alan Law, Firth Park, also released a statement saying:
“The country is facing a climate emergency, and everything must be done to avert this. But investment in fossil fuels is also bad for the pension pots of council workers as such investments are risky as we all move away from burning fossil fuels. Even the Bank of England sees this.
“Investment in fossil fuel industries needlessly exposes pension funds when better alternatives are available. Clean industries and new jobs are the areas where pension funds should be investing. I’m delighted that the ambition has now been set and Labour councillors will work hard to ensure that the 2030 target does not slip”