BOSSES behind West Yorkshire Pension Fund (WYPF) are set to review the way it invests in fossil fuels. 

WYPF, administered by Bradford Council, has repeatedly faced calls to cut off investments in Shell and BP.

Three of the fund’s top five investments are in oil and gas companies, according to protesters.

Passion for their plight has seen campaigners burning fake money outside City Hall and pouring ‘oil’ over themselves.

In response, the fund's advisory group long expressed its belief that "divestment has no real-world impact on reducing carbon emissions".

But the fund is now set to review its assets to “reinforce our commitment to increased investment in climate solutions”. 

What this means

WYPF said: “To reinforce our commitment to increased investment in climate solutions, WYPF wishes to make clear that it will not use WYPF assets to fund new fossil fuel developments. 

“In particular, WYPF will not be lending to the oil, gas and coal sector and will continue to work with other like-minded investors to demand a similar approach from the banking industry.”

WYPF said it will review its level of equity holdings in the oil and gas sector.

This review will also include “an assessment of the impact of WYPF’s engagement with the sector as a responsible and active shareholder working closely with the Northern LGPS Pool, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and a range of other climate-focused investor groups”. 

Pending completion of this review, WYPF will not be increasing its holdings in listed fossil fuel stocks

'Good news'

Nick Hodgkinson, from the Fossil Free West Yorkshire group, said: “The International Energy Agency says the move to renewable energy is unstoppable. It’s the future. WYPF is one of the biggest council pension funds in the UK and it has joined other pension funds who are leaving fossil fuels behind - leading the radical change we urgently need to build a better future for everyone.”

Councillor Andrew Thornton, chair of West Yorkshire Pension Fund Investment Advisory Panel, said its primary responsibility is to meet members’ pension promises at an affordable and sustainable cost to employers.

Cllr Thornton added: “Whilst all of the UN Sustainable Development Goals have clear merit, we were able to build the most coherent investment thesis around the three themes that we have chosen, which complement our work with a range of local and national partners to help drive sustainable economic growth locally and deliver a positive real-world climate impact.

“WYPF is committed to achieving Net Zero emissions for our investments by 2050 and we want to see real-world transition from the companies that it invests in.

“With regards to the fossil-fuel sector in particular, as responsible and engaged investors, we wish to make clear that WYPF does not support further development and that we expect to see tangible progress being made by these companies over the next 12 months.”