Great news is rolling in from Bristol as Global Divestment Day starts to wrap up in the UK. Bristol City Council has committed to go fossil free joining over 30 cities globally to have made the pledge.
Mayor George Ferguson made the commitment to keep Bristol’s investments out of the fossil fuel industry at a recent Mayoral Question Time, committing to extend the Council’s Ethical Investment Policy to exclude companies whose core activities cover fossil fuel extraction.
This is great news for Bristol, and the up and coming Bristol Fossil Free campaign, as they turn their attention to the mighty Avon Pension Fund, of which Bristol is a member alongside neighbouring councils in Bath and Somerset.
Although the City Council currently doesn’t currently hold any direct investments in fossil fuels, this public commitment to change policy and codify their position is a significant step in the right direction, and another blow to the fossil fuel industry.
The campaign group includes members of the pension fund deeply concerned about the impacts of their savings on future generations. They say the next steps are for Mr Ferguson to actively invest in clean energy and lend his full support to ongoing conversations with the Avon Pension Fund about their significant fossil fuel investments.
The announcement comes at a critical moment on Global Divestment Day, when local authorities (and other institutions) around the country have come under increasing pressure to divest, with increasing calls for public money to get out of climate destruction.
The announcement came on a day of action in Bristol for Global Divestment Day, with ‘Divestment Parties’ and singing flashmobs at bank branches around the city.
Fossil Free Bristol sits alongside a growing student campaign at University of Bristol, where students are playing off the illogical position of hosting the much publicised Cabot Institute researching the drivers of climate change, while remaining invested in fossil fuels.
Bristol has just taken on the title of European Green Capital for 2015, the annual award designed to promote and reward the efforts of cities to improve the environment.
Great work Bristol, and may this be the first of many to come!