The East Sussex Pension Fund which invests around £150 million into fossil fuel companies will be the focus of a forthcoming protest by local Extinction Rebellion Group.

Protesters will take to their bicycles next Saturday to begin a ‘rebel ride’ in protest at the pension fund’s investment in unsustainable energy companies which contribute to global warming.

Employees of over 130 organisations across the county including including staff from universities, academies, borough, district, city and county councils pay into the scheme, managed by the fund’s committee which appoints external investment fund managers to manage its assets.

The protest is part of wider pressure on ESPF calling for it to divest from large companies such as Exxon and BP. Pressure group Divest East Sussex has called the investments ‘dirty and financially risky.’

However, a spokesperson for the fund said it had a duty to ensure that there are sufficient assets to meet the promised retirement benefits of members when they fall due and that money was invested in areas which generated the best return with consideration for the level of risk each investment poses.

“The Pension Fund’s Investment Strategy Statement states how the Fund manages its risks and includes its Responsible Investment Policy which deals specifically with Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Risks.

“The Pension Fund’s investments need to deliver a sufficient return in the long-term to ensure that funds are available to meet the promised retirement benefits for its 74,965 members as well as keeping the fund affordable for all of the 130+ organisations who participate in the Fund.”

The Extinction Rebellion ‘rebel ride’ starts at The Stade at 11.00am on Saturday 20th July.

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