Barry has joined a cross-party group of MPs and former MPs calling on the trustees of the Parliamentary Pension Fund to disclose their investments in fossil fuels, and take action to divest from these risky investments over an appropriate timescale.
On launching the Divest Parliament campaign, Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade and Shadow Minister for International Climate Change said:
“This is about taking the right financial decision and not taking stupid risks with public money. The global transition to a future powered by clean energy is inevitable and irreversible. It is clearer than ever that investments in fossil fuels and high-carbon assets carry high financial risk – yet the very trustees who are supposed to be guardians of probity and good practise refuse to examine whether MP's own pensions are exposed.
“MPs should be setting the gold standard for responsible investment and climate risk-management. We need transparency and clarity - the very things that as MPs we constantly demand of others. If we have that we can perhaps stop public money being wasted.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Divest Parliament campaign is encouraging MPs, past and present, to call on the Parliamentary pension fund trustees to uphold their fiduciary duty and take the financial risks of climate change seriously. The campaign is asking the trustees to quantify, disclose and review the fund’s investments in carbon-intensive industries, engage in a dialogue with fund members and managers on responsible investment, and commit to phasing out fossil fuel investments over an appropriate time-scale. For more information on the pledge and campaign, visit divestparliament.org.
2. Over the last two years, over 35 MPs and former MPs have signed Early Day Motions and letters to the Trustees of the Parliamentary Pension Fund, including Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party), Laura Sandys (former Conservative MP), Barry Gardiner MP (Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade), Ed Miliband MP (former Leader of the Labour Party), Liz Saville-Roberts MP (Plaid Cymru), plus MPs from the Liberal Democrats, SNP and SDLP.
3. The Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund is the main pension fund for MPs serving in the House of Commons, with investments totalling £589 million. It currently has 646 active members (current MPs who are paying into the fund), 161 deferred members (former MPs who have not yet retired), and 1010 retired members (former MPs who are retired and are receiving their pension). It is governed by a board of 12 cross-party trustees who manage the fund on behalf of the members.
4. Earlier this week a landmark ruling from two leading UK barristers, including pensions expert Keith Bryant QC, confirmed that pension fund trustees who fail to consider climate risk could be exposing themselves to legal challenge.