Campaign Launched Asking H&F to Divest from Fossil Fuel Industry

Says council has invested £45 million of pension funds in associated companies

A campaign has been launched to persuade Hammersmith and Fulham council to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry.

The campaign, part of Divest London, which is supported by Friends of the Earth and Fossil Free, claims that around £45 million worth of pension fund money has been invested by H&F in companies associated with fossil fuel extracts.

You can see Fossil Free's figures in detail here.

The campaign, launched on Thursday 9 March at Hammersmith's Lyric Theatre is in response to council leader Stephen Cowan’s stated aim to make Hammersmith and Fulham 'the greenest borough in the country' and local environmental issues that have arisen in relation to air pollution and the planned Heathrow Airport expansion.

The campaign is also part of a London-wide divestment movement that has already seen Waltham Forest and Southwark borough decide to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry.

Research has shown that in order to meet the target of no more than 2°C of warming set at the Paris COP21 conference, up to 80% of known carbon reserves must be left in the ground.

The divestment movement has sought to show that this makes fossil fuels a dangerous investment as well as a danger to the planet and says to date, more than $5 trillion has been divested from the fossil fuel industry as a result of this movement.

Hammersmith and Fulham Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Morag Carmichael says: " Climate change is a justice issue in that the countries that contribute the least to climate change are the most likely to be heavily affected. I'm sure that our current council, which is very progressive on issues of justice and making life better for all, will see this."

Campaigner Lewis Coenen-Rowe says: " While the council’s green aims are praise-worthy, it is inconsistent for them to pursue this agenda on a local level, while ignoring how their investment policy contributes to pollution on a global scale."

The campaign has launched an online petition calling on the council to:

Immediately freeze any new investment made by the Hammersmith and Fulham pension fund or Hammersmith and Fulham council itself in top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies with largest known carbon reserves (oil, coal, and gas)

Divest from any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds in the top 200 list and shift these funds to ethical and environmentally friendly investments within 5 years

Ensure the security of this move by advocating that the London Collective Investment Vehicle include a choice of multiple fossil free equity funds within its portfolio that will enable divested councils to fully commit to their pledges

Campaigners say they aim to collaborate closely with members of the council in order to find a workable solution.

Hammersmith and Fulham Friends of the Earth meanwhile meet on the second Tuesday of each month at Pret a Manger, on the corner of Lyric Square and King Street, starting at 7.15pm. The next meetings are on 14 March and 11 April.

Find out more here .

March 10, 2017