DORSET Pension Fund is being lobbied to further reduce the carbon footprint of its investments.

Several letters have been sent from fund members and campaigners for next week’s meeting (June 15) calling for changes.

Committee members have been lobbied in the past by Extinction Rebellion campaigners and have also entertained two Dorset GPs, Drs Rebecca Smith and Ruth Arnold, who in 2019 lobbied for the committee to reduce the fund’s reliance on any investments which could cause environmental harm.

Some changes have been made to investment policy as a result but the campaigners say the fund managers should go further and act faster.

At its meeting in September 2020, the committee agreed to a strategy of decarbonisation which should result in a gradual reduction in allocations of investment to companies which are high carbon emitters.

Said Sandra Reeve from Charmouth in her letter to the committee: “BH, BP and Shell account for 40 per cent of total direct investments across all local authority pension funds in the UK.

“It is becoming clear that investing in fossil fuels is increasingly costly. It is a financial risk—with UK Public Pensions losing £2 billion on oil investments in the last 4 years. It’s also a political risk—with the UK public more concerned about climate change than ever before.”

She claims that at the current rate of a 7 per cent reduction a year it will take 15 years for the fund to divest completely from fossil fuel funds.

Fund pensioner, Pam Rosling from Hazelbury Bryan has asked the committee to poll all fund members to establish what demand there is for an ethical investment option, rather than investment in fossil fuels.

Char Valley parish councillor Andrew Carey has written asking the committee to show leadership and further disinvest from fossil fuels. He claims that Brunel, which manages much of the Dorset Pension Fund, is: “divesting from fossil fuel companies only when they present an investment risk – not when they present a risk to the planet.”

Around 70,000 Dorset pensioners rely on the fund for their income. At the end of March 2021 the fund was worth £3,340M, compared to £2.79m at the start of the financial year.