York’s pension investment in a sustainable future

This Liberal Democrat Council Motion was proposed by Coucillor Christian Vassie.

Council notes:

  • More and more pension funds are divesting from fossil fuels both in the UK and across the world. Globally $14.56 trillion is now committed to divestment. It is clear that pension funds across the UK and around the world no longer view fossil fuel production as a wise or a long term investment.
  • The York and North Yorkshire Pension fund still has holdings in fossil fuels, thought to be around £33 million in total.
  • On 5th March 2021 the York & North Yorkshire Pension Fund signed up to a new strategy, which would see the reduction of the fund’s holdings in equities from 57% to 50%, and the creation of a new investment portfolio in infrastructure (10% or £450 million of the total fund). The fund’s new strategy commits to investing £200 million in infrastructure this year.
  • City of York Council declared a climate emergency in March 2019 and is currently drawing up a zero carbon pathway to deliver a zero carbon York.
  • City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council have declared the joint ambition to become the country’s first carbon negative region.
  • Council is working with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and North Yorkshire County Council to bring to life our Zero Carbon Strategy for the region, recognising both the strategic value of doing this and the significant positive benefit in terms of developing new skills and jobs. Council commends this change in strategy and the Pension Fund's decision to support sustainable infrastructure. Council believes that investment in green infrastructure is one of the keys to transition to and a zero carbon future and the creation of green jobs.

Consequently, Council resolves:

  • To call on the York and North Yorkshire Pension Fund to commit to invest £120 million of the infrastructure portfolio in green infrastructure, to be split equally between the region, the UK, and global projects.