For immediate release
February 28, 2022
VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley is calling on the B.C. Minister of Finance and the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation to immediately divest public pension plans from all Russian-backed industries, with a plan for divestment from all oil and gas development by the end of 2022.
“There are several concurrent crises unfolding today. One is the undemocratic, violent invasion of the Ukraine by the Russian Federation. This war is threatening global peace, the democratic rights of the Ukrainian people, and the safety and wellbeing of millions of people.
“Another is the climate crisis. Today’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights a ‘narrowing window’ for climate action with the authors stating that the scientific evidence is ‘unequivocal,’ and that any further delay in global action will miss a ‘brief window to secure a liveable future.’ This is urgent, and must be met with urgent action.
“The public pensions of 690,000 British Columbians are currently invested in Russian-backed, state-owned industries. Much of this industry is specifically Russian oil and gas development. According to news sources, BCI has stated it has ‘minimal exposure to Russia, currently representing approximately 0.2 per cent of total assets under management.’ But with so little invested, divesting should be a straightforward way to ensure we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
The BC Greens are calling for:
- The Minister of Finance to immediately convene the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation for an urgent meeting on the state of the province’s investments.
- An interim BCI update outlining immediate action to divest public pensions from all Russian-backed, state-owned industries.
- An updated BCI Business Plan, as required annually by the Public Sector Pension Plans Act, outlining the plan divestment of public pensions from all oil and gas by the end of 2022.
“This needs to be the first step towards full divestment of oil and gas in the BCI portfolio. That same way we cannot profit from an authoritarian regime hellbent on war, we cannot profit from the climate crisis, which is on track to cause untold damage to all.
“Failure to act holds immense consequence for the people of Ukraine and the world as a whole. It is unconscionable to continue investing and profiting off these industries.”
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | firstname.lastname@example.org