The Brighton & Hove Green Party have made a statement about the ESCC Pension Fund in the Spring 2014 issue of their magazine, Greenleaf (see page 2, statement below). The Greens have been pushing for change on this issue for a long time. In 2002 Caroline Lucas asked for an inquiry into this issue. Several articles in the Argus have been written about the Greens’ attempts of changing the investment practices of the ESCC Pension Fund (see a list of them half way down this page). In 2004 the Greens put forward a request for scrutiny of policies concerning pension fund investment from Councillors (p.7). Caroline Lucas signed in 2013 Early Day Motion 339 calling for local authorities to divest from tobacco. And much more in between 2002 and now. And yet, as the recent Freedom of Information requests shows, the ESCC Pension Fund is still investing in tobacco, arms and a long-list of other dubious investments. If only the councillors from the other political parties, which are on the investment panel of the ESCC Pension Fund, would listen. For now, the Green Party’s recent statement:
Frack free. Pension Funds investing in Fracking concerns.
The Green administration on Brighton & Hove City Council has called on East Sussex Pension Fund to divest itself of fracking and other unethical investments such as tobacco.
“We are calling on East Sussex Pension Fund to change its investment approach to put ethical and local concerns first. While the fund’s first duty must be to ensure there is enough to pay for its members’ retirement incomes, we believe this can be done effectively without supporting industries which devastate the environment and people’s health,” said Green council leader Cllr Jason Kitcat. “All those who rely on the scheme should be able to feel confident in its ethics as well as its financial probity.”
The pension fund is run for council workers, teachers, fire-man and other public sector workers in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex. It is overseen by a panel of councillors, of which there is only one Green member.
Cllr Leo Littman, Finance lead on Brighton & Hove City Council and Green member on the pension fund panel, commented “I’ve been pressing for some time now for the pension fund to review their approach in light of ethical and environmental concerns. Sadly that hasn’t gained much support from other panel members. Ultimately this major fund could be used for good, such as investing in key infrastructure and housing developments in our region rather than tobacco plantations half-way around the world, or fracking on our doorstep.