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MPs launch campaign for greener pension fund investment

08 December 2016

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A cross-party group of MPs and 350.org, the climate campaign group, has launched a campaign calling for greater transparency on the Parliamentary pension fund.

Divest Parliament wants a more detailed look at the Fund's £589m investments and a commitment to divest from fossil fuels.

More than 35 MPs and former MPs have been calling for the Fund to disclose its exposure to high-carbon investment since 2014 and to address climate-related financial risk.

350.org says the Fund's trustees have not yet addressed MP's concerns, instead, closing the discussion down in November.

Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, is supporting the campaign: "Climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are already seeing its devastating impact across the world.

"MPs should be showing leadership on the issue, so it is deeply concerning that our pension fund is supporting an industry that is fuelling the climate crisis," she said.

Lucas went on to advocate support for a fossil free future saying she wanted to avoid having her pension savings invested in 'dirty energy.'

"This is a great opportunity for MPs to lead the way and I hope that colleagues from across the House will support this push for transparency and more socially responsible investment," she said.

Barry Gardiner, Labour Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade and Shadow Minister for International Climate Change, also spoke out in support of the campaign.

He said: "This is about taking the right financial decision and not taking stupid risks with public money."

"The global transition to a future-powered by clean energy is inevitable and irreversible, and it is clearer than ever that investments in fossil fuels and high-carbon assets carry high financial risk – yet the trustees refuse to examine whether MP's own pensions are exposed."

"We need transparency and clarity – the very thing that, as MPs, we constantly demand of others."

Former Conservative MP, and member of the Carbon Tracker advisory board, Laura Sandys, said MPs from across the political spectrum needed to work together.

"We need to speak with one voice on this issue. Climate change represents a serious financial risk to pension savers and investors across the UK."

First published 08.12.2016

Lindsay.sharman@wilmingtonplc.com