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Climate protesters call on Islington Council to stop investing pension fund in fossil fuels

PUBLISHED: 10:53 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:55 09 May 2017

One of the 'monsters' that will be chased outside the town hall. Picture: Fossil Free Islington

One of the 'monsters' that will be chased outside the town hall. Picture: Fossil Free Islington

Fossil Free Islington

Climate protesters will face down these "monsters" in Upper Street on Saturday in the hope of getting Islington Council to listen to their demands.

The 'monster'. Picture: Fossil Free IslingtonThe 'monster'. Picture: Fossil Free Islington

Fossil Free Islington wants the town hall to stop investing pensions cash in the fossil fuel industry.

The “fossil fuel monsters” – made from fabric and tubing – will be paraded across Islington and 13 other London boroughs and “chased” by protestors outside each town hall.

“Public institutions talk about how we need to take action, but on the other side they’re still profiting from the fossil fuel industry which is directly responsible for climate change, so there’s something of an inconsistency there,” said campaigner Jen Cronin.

“Fossil fuels have historically been a very stable, long-term investment which is why they’ve been quite favoured by pension funds.

“However with the rapid transition that’s now happening towards more sustainable technology this is no longer the case and so pension funds need to recognise that in order to fulfil their duty to investors.”

She added: “We want to send a positive message because working with the council as been a really positive experience and we’re keen to keep on working with them on next steps towards further divestment.”

Islington’s pensions fund subcommittee agreed in November to move 24 per cent of pension investments into two separate, low-carbon funds.

The move came shortly after Waltham Forest became the first council to withdraw its pension cash from dirty energy.

Today, 50 cross-party parliamentary candidates gave their backing to Divest Parliament, a campaign calling on the government to divest its £612million pension fund away from fossil fuel industries.

“Our campaign isn’t specifically focused on what they should reinvest in.” said Ms Cronin. “It’d be great if they want to do something specifically to fight climate change, but that’s another case.”

Alan Layton, Islington’s service director of financial and asset management, said: “We’re dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of Islington’s pension fund and doing our bit to help combat climate change.”

He added the council is exploring low-carbon options for other investments.

But he declined to say if or when the council planned to stop investing pension money in fossil fuels.

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