Public sector must stop funding climate change say Welsh organisations and Future Generations Commissioner for Wales
Friends of the Earth Cymru, Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and other environment, development and trade union groups are calling on all public sector bodies in Wales to stop investing in climate-wrecking fossil fuel companies.
In an open letter published today Tuesday, 30th July, Friends of the Earth Cymru, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, UNISON Cymru, NUS UK, CAFOD Wales, Oxfam Cymru, University and College Union Cymru, Sustrans Cymru and British Lung Foundation Wales have come together to urge Local Authority Pension Funds, the new Wales Pension Partnership, the Assembly Member Pension Scheme and the Welsh Government pension fund to commit to truly ethical investment policies which do not include any fossil fuel firms.
The organisations, who collectively represent tens of thousands of people in Wales, want Wales to be a globally responsible nation in line with our seven well-being of goals. As the open letter explains, ‘it is the poorest people, both here in Wales and globally, that are least responsible and yet most affected by climate change. We must divest from fossil fuels now to help support more vulnerable countries where people are already experiencing the front line impacts of climate change.’
Friends of the Earth Cymru spokesperson Bleddyn Lake said:
“If you invest money in a business you are supporting them. The record temperatures across Europe over the last week are just the latest reminder that climate change is happening here and now. The public sector in Wales must stop funding the companies responsible for the climate crisis.
“Divestment – that is taking money away from unethical funds – is a powerful way of showing the fossil fuel industry that we’re taking the climate emergency seriously. After all, we can’t fight climate breakdown while funding the very companies driving it.
“In Wales so far, Monmouthshire and Cardiff councils have passed votes to divest their pensions from these companies. Other councils such as Swansea are also taking encouraging steps but others are very resistant and have voted down similar divestment motions. We need to see greater urgency of action.
“We urge all public sector bodies in Wales to join those companies, councils and organisations around the world who have already divested. If we don’t act now, then when?”
Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales said:
“In the past month we have seen the pace of progress to tackling climate change gather speed here in Wales; from Welsh council’s voting to divest from fossil fuels to local people taking direct action to highlight the serious threat to our health and planet as we experience some of the hottest days of the year so far across Europe.
“Decision-makers in Wales need to be taking immediate action and one strategic commitment they can make to contributing to a globally responsible Wales is by making the right financial decision for the well-being of our future generations. This is one of the recommendations highlighted within my Art of the Possible programme which provides practical information for public bodies to take bolder steps on their journey to realising the aims and ambition of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Friends of the Earth Cymru was set up in 1984, is part of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and supports a unique network of local campaigning groups working in communities throughout Wales. Friends of the Earth Cymru inspires the local and national action needed to protect the environment for current and future generations; and believe that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand. For more information please visit www.foe.cymru.
Sophie Howe is the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales whose role is to be the guardian of future generations. This means helping public bodies and those who make policy in Wales to think about the long-term impact their decisions have. The role w.as created following the passing of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act (2015).