Swansea Council’s pension fund has been recognised as the best local government scheme in the UK for sustainable investment.
In recent years major steps have been taken to reduce the fund’s carbon footprint by cutting the amount of cash invested in companies with high carbon intensity.
Now the £2.1bn fund – which Swansea Council manages for Swansea, Neath Port Talbot as well as a number of other employers in the area, has been recognised at the LAPF Investments Awards, which celebrate outstanding achievement by pension funds and service providers.
Swansea won the award for the fund with the Best Approach to Sustainable Investment in the UK.
Clive Lloyd, deputy leader of Swansea Council and chair of the scheme’s pension fund committee, said: “The LAPF Investments Awards has come to be recognised as mark of excellence in the field of pensions provision so to say I’m delighted that the work being done in Swansea has been recognised is an understatement.
“We were the first local government pension scheme in Wales – and among only a small number in the world – to commission a review of our equity investment portfolio to find out the exact extent of our carbon and fossil fuel related investments.
“Since then we have moved £0.5bn of assets into low carbon index tracking funds which has reduced further what was already a low level of investments in carbon-related industries.
“This has been done while continuing to think carefully about how the investments we manage for thousands of existing contributors and pensioners are able to maximise the required returns.
“We will continue with this approach and we will reduce even further our exposure to investment in fossil fuel companies.
“I would like to thank our pension fund committee and advisors whose hard work and determination to reduce the fund’s carbon footprint have made this possible.”
Cllr Lloyd said the award was further evidence Swansea Council was now among the best in the UK at putting environment issues at the heart of its policies.
The council has invested in a fleet of electric vehicles, it is leading the way in building energy efficient council homes, solar panels are being used to create green clean energy at many of the city’s schools and more than 21,000 street lights have been converted to LED.
Cllr Lloyd added: “This year we passed a motion in Swansea declaring a Climate Emergency and we urged the UK government to do the same.
“We are making decisions and taking practical steps every day that are making a real difference but we know we can and we will do more. We are determined to make Swansea the most green and energy efficient council in Wales.”