A £2.3 billion pension fund is moving away from fossil fuel to low-carbon investments, councillors were told.

But members of the Dyfed Pension Fund committee were advised at a meeting that it would be hard to provide a fixed timescale on achieving such a scenario.

The committee was considering an amended notice of motion adopted by Carmarthenshire’s full council last October, which called on the pension fund to divest from fossil fuels within the next two years and invest in local renewable energy schemes.

The motion took into account the conclusions of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and the council’s declaration of a climate emergency earlier in 2019.

Speaking at the June 24 committee meeting, the council’s director of corporate services, Chris Moore, said the pension fund was trying to influence companies away from fossil fuels.

He said: “We believe active engagement is a more productive way forward.”

He added: “I don’t think we necessarily we will get to a total disinvestment in two years’ time.”

The pension fund has more than 48,000 members from 46 mainly public sector organisations in West Wales.

Mr Moore said the fund was putting more money into renewable investments, as was an umbrella local Government pension organisation – the Wales Pension Partnership – it participates in.

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“The Wales Pension Partnership has approved a responsible investment policy,” said Mr Moore.

The partnership, he said, will have a “greater influence” in this area.

Mr Moore said the Dyfed Pension Fund had to consider what funds were available to invest in and also its fiduciary duty on behalf of its members.

Cllr Deryk Cundy said he felt the pension fund should consider not reinvesting in higher carbon products, while Cllr Elwyn Williams asked if there were any signs of investments in local renewable energy schemes, as per the council’s motion.

Mr Moore said such schemes didn’t necessarily have the returns unless they were backed by the Government.

The report before the committee said the Dyfed Pension Fund recognised climate change “as a significant risk factor for our pension fund investments”.

It added that the Wales Pension Partnership will consider a specific climate risk policy at its next joint governance meeting.

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