Divest from fossil fuels for pensions says Council

Published Tuesday 19 December 2023


Harborough District Council, as a member of the Leicestershire Local Government Pension Scheme, will call for a review of the scheme’s Investment Strategy and Net Zero Climate strategy to rule out new investments in fossil fuel producing companies, it has been agreed. 

At a Full Council meeting on 18 December 2023, a motion to call for a divestment from fossil fuels for the scheme through the development and adoption of responsible investment was passed. 

The motion said: “Recognising that fossil fuel investments should be considered as part of the council’s “carbon footprint” and divesting by the pension Scheme is one of the most impactful steps we can take to reduce our impact on our community and the world.”  

The Council will now ask that the Leicestershire Local Government Pension Scheme immediately freeze any new investment in the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies.  

It will also call for the scheme to divest from direct ownership, and any commingled Funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within three to four years. 

Finally, it will ask that the scheme actively seek to invest in companies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimise climate risk. 

Cllr Woodiwiss, Cabinet lead for Environmental and Climate Change, said: “As a council we take our NetZero commitments seriously and as most of the Leicestershire councils, including Harborough District Council, have declared a Climate Emergency, it is not in keeping with this for our Pension Fund to continue to invest in fossil fuels.”

The council’s pensions scheme is managed by Leicestershire County Council on behalf of local authorities in Leicester and Leicestershire.