30th October 2023

The latest analysis by UK Divest – The Pensions Pipeline – reveals that UK Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) have £16bn invested in fossil fuel companies.

Yet again that the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) has the highest holdings in fossil fuel companies by both value and percent. GMPF had £1.7bn invested in fossil fuel companies as at March 2022, of which £1.3bn is directly invested in fossil fuel extraction. 7.5% of GMPF’s holdings are in fossil fuel companies when the average for UK LGPS is 2.8%.

Holdings in Fossil Fuel Extraction – GMPF and other Local Government Pension Funds

The Pensions Pipeline, UK Divest, 23.10.23

UK Divest found that in the last two years many LGPS have been moving away from fossil fuel investments. 20% of LGPS now invest less than 1% of their fund in fossil fuels – a ten-fold increase since 2020. Meanwhile, our own analysis found that GMPF’s investment in fossil fuels rose over the same period, notably in Total Energies, which is currently building the hugely controversial East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

GMPF clings to the myth that engagement with fossil fuel companies is the best way to reduce carbon emissions, even as fossil fuel companies are expanding their oil and gas production.

The Church of England recently concluded that, despite its own and others’ engagement activities with fossil fuel companies, they had not come into line with the Paris Climate Agreement. It announced in June that, given big oil’s failure to genuinely change, it will divest from fossil fuel companies. The Diocese of Salford announced in September that it will end all direct investments in fossil fuels.

Meanwhile GMPF has no plan for how it intends to reduce its fossil fuel investments, other than saying that it will be carbon neutral by 2050. It’s time for GM Councils to demand that GMPF share their plan for divestment from these environmentally and financially disastrous investments.