Waltham Forest has become the first UK council to fully divest its directly managed funds from fossil fuel investments.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for air quality and climate, said: “Often when people talk about tackling the climate emergency, they are discussing the tangible actions that we can all see. Of course, improving our roads, planting more trees, and retrofitting homes are incredibly important – but so is the behind-the-scenes work that people may not see, such as this incredible achievement divesting our pension funds.
“Moving away from investments in oil, coal, and gas companies in favour of investing in those working on sustainable or renewable energy like solar or tidal helps these new technologies become better, more efficient, and more readily available.
“We also want to help other local authorities and public sector bodies to do the same,” said Loakes. “We are happy to share our experiences and what we have learned with others – we are all on this journey together and I hope that sharing our success will encourage other councils to divest.”
Friends of the Earth estimated in 2021 that UK pension funds have £128 billion invested in fossil fuel, the equivalent of £1,916 per UK citizen. Local government pension funds account for £10 billion of this.