This page contains a variety of resources to support divestment campaigners to develop both technical knowledge of the issue and strategies for influencing decision-makers. We’ll be updating this page with new content throughout 2021, so watch this space!
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Divesting to protect our pensions and the planet: an analysis of local government investments in coal, oil and gas [PDF]
This report from UK Divest offers the most up-to-date analysis of local government pension fund investments in fossil fuels.
The purpose of this report is to:
● inform local decision-makers about why and how to stop investing in fossil fuels
● provoke conversations at the local and national level about what these investments mean and how this could change for the better
● support people who are campaigning or eager to start campaigning for divestment in their area
This short report from UK Divest finds that UK pension funds have an estimated £128 billion invested in fossil fuels, equivalent to nearly £2,000 for every person in the UK.
Published just days before the start of COP26, the report investigates the investments of six of the UK’s largest pension funds. The report highlights concerns around transparency, finding that half of the UK’s 27 biggest pension schemes published no information about their investments, including Now Pensions, with 1.8 million members, and the BT Pension Scheme, valued at £57 billion.
The report also includes two case studies, detailing how both New York City and State’s pension funds and the London Borough of Islington Pension Fund have commenced their effort to divest from fossil fuels and invest in green alternatives.
Resources for campaigners
A step-by-step guide to running a successful divestment campaign. From building a group to winning your demands — learn how to pick a target, plan your strategy, and take action.
Click here for recordings from the 2021 Fossil Free Gathering.
These include sessions on:
- How to tackle the “divest or engage” question
- An introduction to community organising
- Developing a campaign strategy
- Using art and direct action in your campaign
- The financial arguments for fossil fuel divestment
- Framing climate justice — i.e. how to communicate about your campaign effectively and make people care
- As well as talks from a number of fantastic climate justice and divestment campaigners both from UK and abroad
- An introduction to different divestment and anti-sponsorship campaigns and how to get involved with them
- An introduction to fossil fuel financing by UK banks
- How to engage trade unions in your campaigns
An easy-to-follow introduction to some of the most common arguments that councillors use against divestment, equipping local campaigners with the tools to engage with their local authority.
1) The ethical arguments for divestment
2) The financial reasons for divestment
3) The practicalities – who is divesting?
4) The practicalities – what can local authorities invest in instead?
5) How to respond to authorities who want to “engage” with fossil fuel companies instead of divesting
This briefing addresses five main arguments that local government pension funds use in favour of engagement with fossil fuel companies, rather than divestment, and suggests how campaigners could respond to them.
1) “Engagement is effective at achieving change”
2) “If we divest we will lose power to engage with the relevant companies”
3) “We work with fossil fuel companies to increase their positive investments”
4) “It’s financially risky to divest. We agree that these companies will devalue in future, but not now; we will have time to sell our shares later”
5) “We need the money we get from Shell’s annual dividend”
These global case studies give a picture of how institutions of different scales may seek to implement divestment within their own contexts. These may act as a useful resource for campaigners seeking to convince their own target institutions that divestment is possible.
This guide provides an overview of Hope for the Future’s relationship-based lobbying approach, tools, tips and techniques for how to effectively communicate with your local councillors about divestment.
For those that are new to divestment campaigning, this webpage offers a basic overview of how local government pensions are administered, who is responsible for the fund, who can make the decision to divest, and who has influence over them.
- Click here to access the Government’s briefing on LGPS investments and climate change.
Want to access more campaigning tools and resources? Visit Friends of the Earth’s Take Climate Action webpage for guides on online campaigning, lobbying, building local alliances and much more.
Resources for local councillors and council staff
This briefing for local councillors outlines what fossil fuel divestment is, how divestment safeguards pensions and our communities, why now is the time to act, and what you can do.
- Click here for a version of the briefing co-authored by the ALDC, specifically for Liberal Democrat councillors.
This motion can be used as the basis for your local authority’s call to divest.
As we tackle the climate emergency and build back beyond COVID-19, what can the Local Government Pension Scheme do to help?
2021 is set to be a huge year for climate action on a local government level. Following on from the numerous climate emergency motions passed and in the run up to the elections and the UN climate talks in Glasgow in November, showing leadership on this global issue is more pressing than ever.
- Neil McInroy, The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)
- Mark Campanale, Carbon Tracker
- Cllr Chris Weaver, Chair of Cardiff and Vale Pension Fund
The Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners (ALDC) and UK Divest invited all Lib Dem councillors and local government staff to this event, which features:
- An introduction to our new briefing and why ending fossil fuel investments should be a priority for Lib Dem councillors
- Presentation from Mark Campanale, founder of Carbon Tracker, on why divestment is financially sensible
- A case study of Shropshire from Liberal Democrat councillors