Using the power of your pension

The start of an unusal mobilisation of pension fund members has been kicked off by the organisation FairPensions to attempt to hold BP and Shell to account for their investment in tar sands.

The idea is that individuals contact their pension funds, through an online action, to show support of environmental resolutions that have been tabled at the annual meetings of BP and Shell this spring. These call on the oil giants to report on the investment risks associated with tar sands and their plans to address them.

Exploitation of tar sands by companies, which are in some cases financed by the UK taxpayer, due to our ownership of the Royal Bank of Scotland, is likely to cause a stir this week with a new report from PLATFORM investigating the role of RBS and other UK banks in tar sands extraction.

Tar sands are among some of the world's dirtiest fuels to produce. Their extraction is having a hugely detrimental impact on the lives and human rights of indigenous communities in Canada. And their extraction produces on average three times the greenhouse gases of conventional oil, which means their contribution to climate injustice is particularly high. Climate change is already hitting the poorest people in the world the hardest. And they are becoming poorer as a result.