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17/02/2021

Senedd 2021 Manifesto Pledge For Divestment

The following is an open letter sent to all political party leaders for the Senedd elections 2021.

Dear Party Leaders

We write on behalf of Divest Dyfed Dadfussoddi who campaign for the Dyfed Pension Fund and the Wales Pension Partnership to divest all investments within the Fund currently held in fossil fuel companies, and to re-invest in local renewable energy projects within Wales.

The heating of the planet poses the threat of climate catastrophe within a very few years (far earlier than 2050). This is the decade in which everything possible must be done by governments, corporations and the financial sector to avert the 6th mass extinction of species. Governments have declared climate emergencies, as have many councils including Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, where we are based, but they have not followed through with meaningful action. Nearly 2 years ago Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils requested the Dyfed Pension Fund to fully divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy. The Dyfed Pension Fund Committee has very recently agreed to move some funds into 2 new low carbon funds which will reduce their exposure to fossil fuels to a quite limited extent. The move to partially divest is a step in the right direction but is indicative of a gradualist approach which will not contribute to the reduction in CO2 emissions to net zero in the time required.

Full and fast divestment from fossil fuels by pension funds is one step that would make the difference now so urgently required. Now is the time for Welsh pension funds, including the Wales Pension Partnership, to act decisively.

Too little action has been taken to invest in Welsh renewable energy companies, yet we know that a giant Swedish pension fund and the Strathclyde Pension Fund have invested millions of pounds in Britain’s biggest renewable energy fund, the UK Green Investment Bank Offshore Wind Farms which operates the off shore wind farms in North Wales, see https://www.greeninvestmentgroup.com/news/2017/worlds-first-offshore-wind-fund-manager-powers-through-p1bn-target.html

It is obvious that clear leadership is needed from the Senedd to ensure complete divestment from fossil fuels, and investment in renewable energy systems, at pace. Carbon neutrality is the most urgent issue facing today’s generation, and is one which surely all political parties should pull together on.

We therefore propose the following commitment for inclusion in your manifestos for the forthcoming elections:

“[Welsh Labour] [Plaid Cymru] [Welsh Conservatives] [Welsh Liberal Democrats] [the Wales Green Party] will commit to working with Welsh Local Authorities, the 8 Local Authority Pension Funds in Wales and the Wales Pension Partnership to put in place plans to phase out investments in fossil fuel companies within the term of the next Senedd and to set up a round table on sustainable investments which would bring together all parties to investigate ways in which pension funds can instead invest in renewable energy and energy saving infrastructure projects in Wales whilst giving the same rate of return to pension fund holders, thus creating new jobs and increased prosperity within Wales, and reducing to zero the current investments in fossil fuel companies.”

Divest Dyfed Dadfussoddi