In September 2016, Waltham Forest became the first council in the UK to commit to fully divesting its £660 million pension fund from fossil fuels. Earlier this month we co-hosted an event with their Labour Group to explore why and how they made this decision. A full write up of the event is here.

We recorded the speakers – videos of their speeches are below and include:

  • Stella Creasy MP (Walthamstow)
  • Cllr Clare Coghill (incoming leader of Waltham Forest Council)
  • Cllr Simon Miller (Chair Waltham Forest Pensions Committee)
  • Natalie Smith (lawyer, ClientEarth), and
  • Mika Minio-Paluello (Energy Economist, Labour Energy Forum)

With Labour Councillors from London and beyond present there was agreement that the fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment campaign should be one the Labour Party leads on. With 2018 local council elections approaching, Labour across London should build this campaign into our 2018 elections campaign; demonstrating we have a brave vision for a sustainable future and the new economy, with a pathway to get to it.

Stella Creasy MP (Walthamstow) gave an overview of the importance of divesting public pensions from fossil fuels, and reinvesting into sustainable infrastructure

Cllr Simon Miller, Chair of the Waltham Forest Pensions Committee, shared the practical experience of how his committee decided to divest.

Cllr Clare Coghill, the incoming leader of Waltham Forest Council, placed Waltham Forest’s pensions pledge in the context of the council’s efforts to achieve clean air, including the Mini-Holland scheme.

Natalie Smith, a financial lawyer with ClientEarth, explained the legal responsibility that pension committee members have to take climate risks seriously under their fiduciary duty.

Mika Minio-Paluello of Labour Energy Forum underlined the importance of divesting and reinvesting in building the new economy and responding to Brexit.

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1 Comment

Mike Parr · April 19, 2017 at 9:28 am

Good first steps – but small first steps – which will give a small result – when the problem is very very large. There are 23 million households in the UK. At a guess around 11 million of these will be in buildings in need of significant energy rennovation. Putting some numbers to this – £10k/home (which is kinda a minimum) and 500k hoursehold/year (20 odd years to do the renno on 11 million) means £5 billion per year for 20 years. There is no sign of the Uk (or indeed any other EU member state – perhaps with the exception of Bulgaria) undertaking that scale of building energy renno – that is NEEDED – this is a need – not a luxury. Money is there – I talked to a Danish pension fund – they are looking to spend Euro3bn/year on suitable proejcts – problem is to take advantage of this sort of money you need scale & I do not see it in the UK & I do not see even a recognition of it in the UK – maybe I’m being unkind.

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