A Cabinet councillor at Lewes District Council has called on the East Sussex Local Government Pension Scheme to stop investing in fossil fuel companies.
The scheme is administered by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and provides retirement income for council employees in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove.
The move by Councillor Matthew Bird, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, follows a proposal received at the council's Cabinet committee meeting today (June 11) from Councillor Adrian Ross that Cabinet writes to ESCC and asks that:
- the East Sussex Pensions Committee immediately freezes any investment in the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies
- all the fossil fuel companies in which the pension fund has invested for a commitment to entirely decarbonise by 2030
- over the next four years, to divest the East Sussex Pension Fund from any investments in companies that do not provide that commitment by March 2021.
Councillor Bird said: "I wholeheartedly support this initiative and am delighted Councillor Ross has proposed it. How can anyone take East Sussex County Council's declaration of a climate emergency seriously when they have invested hundreds of millions of pounds in the companies that share responsibility for climate change. It is breathtaking hypocrisy.
"I will be writing in the strongest possible terms to the East Sussex Pensions Committee and thank Councillor Ross for bringing this proposal to Cabinet today."