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:
Key facts and figures:
How you can get involved:
join our new ClimateReads Book Group
Join us to witness the Pension Fund make its decisions about fossil fuel investment:
The Pension Fund meets every three months – you are welcome to join campaign members there. We attend the public sessions to help the campaign by gathering information. We are also there as witnesses for the next generation who will bear the burden of climate change, which is being fuelled by continued use of fossil fuels.
Venue/Time: South Shields Town Hall, 9:30 start (we can help with travel info and where to meet)
Click here for a list of all the people on the Pension Fund committee: representatives of six local councils, employers and pension fund members.
UK DAY OF ACTION ON DIVESTMENT: 24 March 2023
Protests were held from the Scottish Border southwards, right across the Tyne & Wear Pension Fund area. Our campaign delivered messages to the Leaders of all six local councils that use the Tyne & Wear fund. Together, they use our council taxes to contribute more than £180 million a year to that pension fund – in turn, the pension fund has total investments of more than £238 million in fossil fuels.
And for an inspirational protest in song – see here how the Climate Choir took the Day of Action to the City of London!
“This fossil fuel investment surprises people when we reveal this information. They ask why they didn’t know. With your help, we can join forces to spread this awareness, and achieve change?”
Q: “What does ‘divestment’ mean?”
A: 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!
Q: “Which other organisations are divesting?”
A: 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.
Q: “Which local councils are in the scheme and how many members are in the T&W Pension Fund?”
A: 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. All six councils have declared a climate emergency and each has made public commitments on their websites.Back in March 2021, there were 167,000 members of the pension scheme, which has since risen. Many of them are unwittingly contributing to climate breakdown because of the way their contributions are invested by Tyne & Wear Pension Fund without keeping members informed.
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.
Q: “Which other local businesses and organisations use the pension scheme and pass funds to it?”
A: More than three hundred other local organisations also use the scheme, including
A full list is available here
Q: “How much is invested in fossil fuels?”
A: 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.
Q: “What are the activities carried out by the Divest Tyne & Wear campaign?”
A: 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 and signing up for our newsletter
Q: “How can I start campaigning for divestment by other pension schemes?”
A: 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
Divest T&W video:
Your Council Tax funds climate change
Divest T&W video:
Your local council is not being fair with climate change commitments
Divest T&W video:
Your Tyne & Wear pension fund is underperforming