Kenilworth Town Council to ask its bank what plans it has to stop funding fossil fuels

By James Smith

16th Nov 2021 | Local News

Kenilworth Town Councillors unanimously backed plans to write to CCLA and HSBC about their plans regarding fossil fuels
Kenilworth Town Councillors unanimously backed plans to write to CCLA and HSBC about their plans regarding fossil fuels

Kenilworth Town Council will write to its bank and investment company to ask what plans they have to divest funds from fossil fuels.

The vote was unanimously approved and councillor said it was the first step towards the council lining up its finances with its declared climate emergency.

But some councillors raised concerns that the vote was merely window dressing and that neither HSBC nor CCLA would be likely to change policy because of a letter.

Speaking at last week's finance and general services meeting Cllr Rob Barry, who proposed the plans, said it was right for KTC to think carefully about where it invests its money.

"I feel that given that this council has declared a council emergency, and with the news that the district council has diverted their equity investment from fossil fuels, we should really take this first step," he said.

"Our investments should be taken away from fossil fuel companies and be put towards investments which are consistent with the aims of our emergency climate declaration."

Cllr John Dearing added that whilst writing to HSBC or CCLA may not affect their business plans, they may at least reveal plans to divest from fossil fuels on the back of COP26.

He said: "Lets get a response back, then let's decide what we do next. Things are changing quickly on the back of COP26.

"I think that we legitimately should take the lead on this, and get our own affairs in order."

But Cllr Michael Coker raised concerns that the plans were more of a gesture than real action.

"If you make such a request of them and they say 'sorry we can't do it', what are you going to do? Take it to Barclays and ask for a similar one, or to NatWest and ask them for a similar one," he asked.

"I like us to do things that have some effect and not just window dressing, and I am afraid that this is just window dressing."

However councillors agreed that the process had to start somewhere, and that CCLA and HSBC had a right to refusal before the council made any concrete plans to divest its funds.

Cllr Barry added: "I also like to think that whilst they might not be affected by a letter by Kenilworth Town Council, over time if they keep receiving letters from other councils and charities then they might take more notice."

     

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