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Swedish pension funds asked to come clean

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© Global Warming Images / WWF-Canon© Global Warming Images / WWF-Canon

Ah, pension funds. They don’t exist everywhere in the world. But where they do exist, they sit quietly in the background until the end of a working life when a pension is collected. That’s all, right?

Not any longer.

It wasn’t until I moved to Norway that I truly understood the power of pension funds. In July, my pension fund provider Storebrand made a decision to end its investments in 19 coal and tarsand companies – because of climate change. And just this week, the Financial Times ran an article following that precedent.

These are public funds – money that comes directly from people like you and I. As my friend Billy Parish (co-founder and President of Mosaic) recently said, what is the point of making an investment that is supposed to pay for our future if it also harms the world we inherit?

The Financial Times article points out “The Swedish Centre party has called for all of the country’s national pension funds to sell off their holdings in fossil fuel corporations” as a way to take action on climate change.

These Swedish pension funds have investments in fossil fuel companies around the world. But coal, oil and gas cannot continue to be used at their current levels if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. The International Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and HSBC have all promoted this idea. Burning these fuels contributes to higher emissions, driving human-caused global climate change. To avoid the most dangerous levels, investments in coal, oil and gas must fall, and those in renewable energy must rise.

We’re currently asking countries like Sweden to make this shift within their state pension funds (AP-fonderna), where a large majority of energy investments today also go to coal, oil and gas.

This call to action from this Swedish party follows a major announcement last week, when the leaders of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway joined the United States in publicly committing to end overseas coal funding. We call on countries around the world to end coal financing and increase investments in renewables.

And in the case of pension funds, it affects our futures in more ways than one.

Join WWF in calling for financial institutions and leaders to change how they invest. Sign our pledge today.

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