Petitions (if any)
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Cabinet received a petition submitted by Brent Divest, which members noted contained nearly 1,400 signatures. The petition called on Brent Council to make a public divestment statement committing the Brent Pension Fund to fully divest from fossil fuel companies and shift these funds to lower risk ethical investments.
The petition was presented by Councillor Kelcher, on behalf of Simon Erskine (Brent Divest) who highlighted what he felt to be the strong policy, democratic and economic case supporting an immediate commitment and move towards divestment.
The Leader of the Council advised that he had also agreed to accept an additional request to speak at the meeting on this issue. The request was from Councillor Choudhary, as Chair of the Brent Pension Fund Sub Committee, who highlighted the strategy already established by the Pension Fund to diversify their investment portfolio away from fossil fuel companies and towards more sustainable and low carbon funds. The approach taken was designed to balance the legal and fiduciary duties on the Fund against the need to manage the overall level of risk whilst also taking account of the size of the Fund and resources available. The strategy, he pointed out, was also linked to the approach being led through the London CIV on behalf of London Councils.
In response to the petition, Councillor McLennan (as Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources) felt there was a need to recognise the progress being made by the Pension Fund in relation to their divestment strategy, linked to the approach being co-ordinated through the London CIV. Whilst recognising this was on a longer term basis than the action being sought by the petitioners, members were advised of the Council’s commitment towards progressing the divestment strategy, with a clear roadmap being developed as part of the work on delivery of the Climate Emergency Strategy balanced against the mitigation of risk to the Pension Fund.
Having noted the progress made to date, Councillor Krupa Sheth (as Lead Member for Environment) supported by the Leader of the Council closed the discussion by re-emphasising the Council’s commitment towards delivery of a responsible divestment strategy closely linked to the overall approach being co-ordinated through the London CIV and Council’s Climate Emergency Strategy. It was felt this would provide the necessary transparency whilst also mitigating risk to deliver the best outcome for all.
Publication date: 06/04/2021
Date of decision: 06/04/2021
Decided at meeting: 06/04/2021 - Cabinet