Greater Manchester Pension Fund member? Please send this crucial message to them

14th May 2018
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action

We have a great opportunity to pressure the Greater Manchester Pension Fund to put its investments on a more sustainable footing and would love your help.

ShareAction has put together a letter which pushes our fund to use its shareholder voting rights to force Shell to transition away from fossil fuels. If passed, it would be great news for the climate and our pension fund investments. If it fails to get passed, it proves the futile nature of ‘engaging’ with fossil fuel companies and makes the case for divestment from this dirty, polluting sector.

If you’re a GMPF member, please can you send this message to the Chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund by email?

Just add your name to the copy below and send to brenda.warrington@tameside.gov.uk.

Thanks,

Chris, Mark, Ali, Maggie & the rest of the Fossil Free Greater Manchester team

 

RE: Resolution 19 at Royal Dutch Shell

Dear Cllr Warrington,

I am a member of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund. I am writing to ask that you exercise your legal duties in scheme members’ best interests, and that you vote for the 2018 Follow This resolution (resolution 19 on the ballot) at the Royal Dutch Shell Plc Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 22 May 2018.

Climate change will pose significant financial risks to pension fund investments. As such, action should be taken by pension schemes to pro-actively mitigate against these financial risks. Pension schemes are increasingly facing scrutiny over their fiduciary duty to minimise members’ exposure to climate-related risks. For example, in response to the 2014 Law Commission’s review ‘Fiduciary duties of investment intermediaries,’ the Department of Work and Pensions recently introduced a new policy requiring pension funds to explain how they are managing the impact of climate change risks on their investments.

Resolution 19 asks Shell to set greenhouse gas intensity targets that are in line with the Paris Agreement. ShareAction, the responsible investment charity, recently published an analysis comparing Shell’s November ambition with resolution 19, which you can access here. ShareAction finds that Shell’s ambition is less ambitious than resolution 19, for the following three reasons:

1. Shell’s ambition is not a target: As clearly set out in Shell’s FAQ document on its Net Carbon Footprint, “This is an ambition for Shell, not a target.” Yet it is not possible to construct remuneration targets against an ambition and this is what will generate real corporate changes.

2. It is not aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement: ShareAction’s briefing compares Shell’s ambition against six mainstream climate scenarios and finds that there is a gap between Shell’s ambition and a majority of <2°C scenarios under consideration.

3. Shell’s absolute emissions may still increase: Shell’s absolute emissions may increase over time if Shell invests in new fossil fuel infrastructure while simultaneously increasing investments in low-carbon technologies. In very simplistic terms, if Shell invests in one unit of fossil fuel energy (assumed to have a greenhouse gas intensity of one), but simultaneously invests in one unit of renewable energy (assumed to have a greenhouse gas intensity of zero), its total greenhouse gas intensity will be 0.5. Yet, in absolute terms, a unit of CO2 will still have been emitted in the atmosphere. It is therefore of utmost importance that Shell’s targets are in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, to make sure that Shell’s absolute emissions decrease at a rate aligned with the need to reduce global temperature rise to well-below 2°C.

AEGON Asset Management, a Dutch pension fund and the second largest institutional investor in the Netherlands, recently announced that they would be supporting resolution 19. AEGON justified its voting decision by saying that “it very important that the goals of Paris are actually achieved, in the interests both of society and of [AEGON’s] clients for whom it is important that the investments that [AEGON] makes with their pension money are free of climate risks”.

In light of the above, and of your duty to protect members’ long-term savings, I ask you to vote in favour of resolution 19 at the Shell AGM. Failure to pass Resolution 19 and failure of Shell to implement it will be proof that engagement with these companies doesn’t work and should be grounds for full divestment from fossil fuel companies.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss this letter or resolution 19 further.

Best wishes,