On November 9th, publication of the “Fuelling the Fire” report has revealed that Oxfordshire County Council is investing £132,642,636 in the fossil fuel industry through their management of the council pension fund. That’s 6.1% of the fund, in direct and indirect investments. We at Fossil Free Oxfordshire are very disappointed. That’s £132,642,637!
This blog has been a bit quiet (sorry!) since the spring, when we finally made some progress – we thought – with the Oxfordshire Pension Fund Committee. We managed – with the help of 30 or so enthusiastic supporters – to get “including climate change” inserted into the new Investment Strategy Statement. This had to be approved in preparation for joining a new pool of 10 Local Government Pension Funds in the South West, the Brunel Pension Partnership. It was a huge admission that climate change is a risk to financial investments.
So we were hopeful we would see some change – but apparently not yet.
But quite a lot has changed since then. And one reason why there haven’t been too many blogs is that Fossil Free Oxfordshire has had to go back into research mode. The main thing that happened was Local Council elections!
Overall, the make up of Oxfordshire County Council has not significantly changed. The Conservatives are still controlling the Council, but (as before the election) only because 2 Independent Councillors vote with them.
However, on the Pension Fund Committee every single Councillor is new, as of May 2017. So we have been getting to know them, finding out where their Division (Councillor-speak for constituency) is, whether we know anyone who’s a constituent and what they seem to think about climate change.
We recognise they have a lot on their plates. They have joined this Committee at a time of huge change – as the Brunel Pension Partnership gets its act together to go live in April 2018 and all 10 Councils involved have to get their (paper) ducks in a row. And the 9 Councillors on the Pension Fund Committee have to learn all about pensions.
We have been to address them once, at their September meeting. It felt like they were listening – but now we really need them to take some action.
If you live in any of these Divisions, your County Councillor is on the Pension Fund Committee and we would love your help with lobbying them on divestment from fossil fuels: Goring, Ploughley, Burford & Carterton North, Kirtlington & Kidlington North, St Margaret’s, Marston & Northway, Eynsham, Cowley or Didcot West.
Please get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org