Divest Tyne & Wear is a campaign by local citizens to end investment in fossil fuels by local councils and organisations to fund pensions. We are requesting they:
How you can get involved
What does “divestment” mean?
It’s the opposite of investment and means primarily getting rid of stocks, bonds or investment funds that are unethical and damaging the environment. The shift to alternative energy sources and electric vehicles means that it does not make financial sense to invest in something that is being phased out!
Which other organisations are divesting?
Since 2012, more than 1,000 institutions have divested from fossil fuels, including New York City, Rockefeller Brother Fund, and Ireland. Five local authority pension funds have committed to fully divest from fossil fuels:
Waltham Forest is expected to be fully divested by April 2022, within six years of committing to divest. They surveyed divestment opportunities in 2017 and 2018, with the first transfers of money in 2018 and 2019. They appointed three new managers tasked with identifying emerging markets where investments could be transferred to stocks with minimal carbon footprints. It can be done!
In addition, 36 councils have already passed motions in support of divestment by their pension fund.
Local organisations that spend our council and business taxes on fossil fuel investment
Six local authorities in our area use council tax income to support their pension schemes. Together they are accountable for Tyne & Wear Pension Fund decisions – they are South Tyneside, Sunderland, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland councils. As of March 2021, there are over 167,000 members of the pension scheme, many of who are unwittingly contributing to or profiting from climate change.
All six councils have declared a climate emergency and each has made public commitments on their websites.
South Tyneside Council:
“South Tyneside Council declared a climate change emergency on 18 July 2019.
We are implementing strategies that will bring about real change.
We aim to:
Newcastle City Council:
“On 3 April 2019, Newcastle City Council declared a Climate Emergency.
The Climate Emergency declaration made the commitment to create a new Climate Change Strategy with the aim of achieving Net Zero status by 2030.”
Northumberland County Council
“We are committed to tackling climate change and have vowed to half our carbon footprint by 2025 and make Northumberland a carbon neutral county by 2030. But we can't do it alone. We need everyone in Northumberland to play their part and do their bit.”
North Tyneside Council
“In July 2019 North Tyneside Council declared a Climate Emergency. The Our North Tyneside Council Plan 2021-25 has the stated ambition that;
We will publish an action plan of the steps we will take and the national investment we will seek to make North Tyneside carbon net-zero by 2030.”
We are committed to being carbon neutral by 2030.
In response to the climate change emergency declared in 2019, we are committed to:
Sunderland City Council
Sunderland declared a climate emergency in 2019.
"Our Climate Emergency Declaration is our city's statement of environment improvement intent, and we hope people will help us to achieve its long term aims."
The commitments outlined in the Declaration were announced at full council in March, and support the Council's ambition to have a net zero carbon footprint by 2030 and achieve its long-term aim of creating a 'greener and cleaner' living environment for all its residents 20 years ahead of the UK National target.
More than three hundred other local organisations also use the scheme, including
A full list is available here.
How much is invested in fossil fuels?
Tyne & Wear is part of the Border to Coast pension pool, one of the largest pension pools in the UK, bringing together over £45 billion investments of eleven local government pension funds. The Border to Coast pool includes Cumbria, Durham, Teesside, North and South Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, East Riding, Lincolnshire, Surrey, and Warwickshire.
Divest T&W activities
Members of our Divest Tyne & Wear campaign:
The divestment team is also currently busy campaigning by engaging decision makers and garnering public support. Keep in touch with the latest by visiting our Facebook page
If you are a member of another local authority pension scheme you can find your local campaign group here
If you are a member of another pension scheme and want to contact them to divest from fossil fuels you can get more information about how to do this here