Thursday 29th September 2016                 Change text size:

Danish pension savers vote on fossil fuel divestment



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Six Danish pension funds have given their members an opportunity to vote on fossil fuel divestment. The votes come as the divestment movement continues to gather pace.

According to the Guardian, academics, civil engineers and architects in Denmark voted in favour of their pension funds selling off their holdings in coal and high-risk oil and gas investment because of the role they play in climate change. In contrast, enough lawyers, vets and other engineers failed to support divestment.

The six pension funds represent around 5% of all workers in Denmark and have €32 billion (£23.8bn) in assets.

Speaking to the newspaper, Professor Thomas Meinert Larsen, from the Copenhagen University and part of the divestment campaign, said, “We are very happy with the success we have had so far. It is very encouraging that we have had more support this year than last year. We think it is only moving in one direction.”

While some people argue that engagement is a better way of creating change within the fossil fuel industry Larsen disagrees. He added, “They say their engagement is really successful. SO we say ‘can you show us some examples?’ But they can’t really come sup with anything.”

Institutions, including pension funds, universities and religious organisations, are increasingly committing to fossil fuel divestment as the movement gathers pace. Most recently the Church of England announced it would divest from coal the tar sands, two of the most polluting fossil fuels, because of how they are impacting climate change and the world’s poor.

As well as an ethical case for divestment, there is also a financial case. Studies have suggested that when the need to tackle climate change is factored in many fossil fuel reserves, and as a result investments, are overvalued.

Photo: John Nyberg via Freeimages

Further reading:

Major pension fund Storebrand divests from a further 10 fossil fuel firms

Norwegian pension fund divests from ‘financially worthless’ fossil fuel firms

Swedish pension funds urged to divest from fossil fuels

MPs call for their pension fund to divest from fossil fuels

Students call on parents to divest from fossil fuels


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