DiveST is a group of citizens that are campaigning for the divestment of local authority pension funds from fossil fuels. Divestment means the opposite of investment primarily getting rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that are unethical and damaging the environment. Additionally, the shift to alternative energy sources and electric vehicles means that it also does not make financial sense to invest in something that is being phased out!
Since 2012 over 1000 institutions have divested from fossil fuels, including New York City, Rockefeller Brother Fund, and Ireland. Several UK council pension funds have also divested, including the UK’s biggest pension fund, National Employment Savings Trust, plus Cardiff, Haringey, and the London Borough of Southwark pensions.
South Tyneside Council is the administering authority for the Tyne & Wear pension fund, which includes Gateshead, North Tyneside, Newcastle City, Northumberland, South Tyneside, and Sunderland council pension funds. Tyne & Wear is also part of the Borders to Coast pension pool, is one of the largest pension pools in the UK, bringing together over £45 billion investments of eleven local government pension funds. The Borders to Coast pool includes Cumbria, Durham, Teesside, North and South Yorkshire.
Currently, members of diveST are undergoing divestment strategy training sessions with Hope for the Future. Additionally, they have had a meeting with members of the South Yorkshire divestment group to share knowledge and learnings. The diveST team is also currently busy doing lots of research! As the results of the local elections are being known, this will allow the group to contact the newly elected councillors to ask them their position on climate change and continued fossil fuel investment. In conjunction, diveST is going to reach out to stakeholders and will hopefully secure the support of existing Tyne & Wear pension fund holders and Union representatives. If you are a concerned pension holder and want to be part of diveST then email firstname.lastname@example.org