At least £141.8 million of pension funds in Hampshire are invested in fossil fuel companies in the Amazon rainforest, Philippines or the Russian Arctic, according to data.
Hampshire County Council workers who contribute to the pension fund invest their money “inadvertently” in companies expanding offshore oil and gas extraction, according to an investigation.
Data released by two campaign groups, Platform and Friends of the Earth, has found that more than £4 billion from public pensions are being plugged into oil and gas companies that are drilling new oil wells in the North Sea.
The data showed Hampshire Pension Fund is one of those invested in such schemes.
The data also indicated that local authorities had invested an estimated £16 billion in fossil fuels worldwide in companies including Shell, BP and Petrobras.
Hampshire County Council declared a “climate emergency” in 2019. Since the strategy was set out, its main target was to become carbon neutral by 2050. One of the key areas was “having a resilient green growth economy through leadership, technology and innovation”.
In 2021, 6,023 ktCO2e of carbon dioxide emissions were released in Hampshire. Transport produced the greatest proportional percentage of emissions at 46.93 per cent, followed by the household sector at 32.46 per cent.
Despite HCC’s commitment to tackle climate change since 2019, data indicates that the Hampshire Pension Fund invested £141.8 million in fossil fuel.
According to the data, Hampshire assets invested in fossil fuel included ‘Lf Access Global Stock Fund’ with £67 million, ‘Ubs Asst Mgmt Life All Wrldeqty Factor Mix Ca’ with £31.6 million, ‘Ubs Life Climate Aware Worldequity’ with £16.6 million and ‘Lf Access Global Managed Volatility Equity Fund’ with £16.4 million, among others.
These assets are managed mainly by ACCESS Capital, with £85.8 million of the total investment, Ubs with £52.7 million, and an unknown asset manager who invests the remaining £3.3 million of the £141.8 million invested in fossil fuel.
Findings also revealed that the pension fund invests in “unconventional” fossil fuel sources such as fracking, extra heavy oil, coalbed methane, ultra-deepwater drills, and Arctic and tar sands. Tar sands is one of the most destructive carbon-intensive and toxic fuels on the planet.
Companies such as Shell, BP, the Brazilian company, Petrobras, and TotalEnergies work in environmental places where the wildlife is under destruction.
Some of the projects that the Hampshire Pension Fund funds include ‘Amazon oil and gas drilling’, which works in the Ecuador and Peru Amazonian rainforest extracting oil, ‘Cabo Delgado’ in Mozambique taking out fossil gas, the ‘Narrabri Coalbed Methane Project’ in Australia, the ‘Myanmar’s Military Junta’, the ‘LNG Boom in the Verde Island Passage’, in Philippines and the ‘Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2’ in the Russian Arctic extracting fossil gas.
Giles Gooding, who has been contributing a share of his wages to Hampshire Pension Fund for about 10 years, said to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism: “It could be a good investment to move away from fossil fuels. There is going to come a point when they are toxic, and the value of them will reduce.”