May 2022 - progress on pensions

Published: 24 May 2022

In 2015, Friends of the Earth Cymru started the campaign to try to get the various local government pensions in Wales to take their money out of fossil fuels companies. We have led the fight ever since. 

In that time an awful lot has changed. To start with pension companies had over a £1billion invested in fossil fuel companies and didn’t want to engage with us at all, and  now the same companies are starting to act on climate change and reducing their investments in these sorts of companies by over half. 

This is good news but there is still some way to go.  

Traditionally there has been little Welsh Government could do on this matter because it is not devolved, but we worked out a way forward and started to work with Senedd Member Jack Sargeant.  

Jack asked questions in the Senedd and put forward a Statement of Opinion. Friends of the Earth Cymru's campaigner Bleddyn Lake then did a briefing session for Members of the Senedd (MSs) and their staff on the issues. Finally, Jack tabled a motion for a Members Debate in the Senedd, calling on the Welsh Government to work with the public sector to agree a strategy to decarbonise pensions by 2030.

We were delighted when MSs supported the motion and Welsh Government also opted to support it, as it marked a significant step forwards for the campaign in Wales.  

Given that the public sector already have their own net-zero by 2030 targets, replicating that process made sense to us. If the public sector can come together and act as one, with Welsh Government, and all agree to decarbonise their pensions by 2030 then we could really lead the world on this.  

And there is a silver lining - because pension funds can invest up to 5% of total fund value into infrastructure projects. So, if the public sector can work with pension funds to agree a strategy of investing in projects in Wales which guarantee a similar rate of return on investment, then funding becomes available for projects such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and social housing. A win-win-win scenario. 

The campaign goes on and we will update our social media channels and website accordingly when we have more news to share. 


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