BBC Pension: Heavily invested in Big Oil

BBC Pension Fund's Big Oil Play

BBC Pension Fund’s Big Oil Play

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Hot on the heels of the Guardian divestment scandal, and 350.org and Rockefellers divestment “issues”, it now turns out that, as of 31st December 2014, the BBC is also heavily invested in oil and tobacco.

According to the BBC’s pension fund website, the second highest equity holding of the BBC pension fund is a £40.6 million investment in Royal Dutch Shell.

BBCEquityInvestments

Despite some dalliance with green groups, such as Shell Oil’s hookup with CRU scientists back in 2000, according to Wikipedia, Shell remains very much a traditional oil and gas business.

Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It has minor renewable energy activities in the form of biofuels and wind.

Top of the list of BBC pension investments is a stake in Baidu, the Chinese internet services company. According to Wikipedia, Baidu has attracted significant controversy over its alleged censorship of web search results.

According to the China Digital Times, Baidu has a long history of being the most proactive and restrictive online censor in the search arena. Documents leaked in April 2009 from an employee in Baidu’s internal monitoring and censorship department show a long list of blocked websites and censored topics on Baidu search.

In May 2011, pro-democracy activists sued Baidu for violating the U.S. constitution by the censorship it conducts in accord with the demand of the Chinese government. A U.S. judge has ruled that the Chinese search engine Baidu has the right to block pro-democracy works from its query results, dismissing a lawsuit that sought to punish the company for Internet censorship.

Big tobacco also features on the list. 6th on the list of top BBC pension investments is a £31 million investment in Imperial Tobacco, which according to Wikipedia is the fourth largest cigarette manufacturer in the world.

The rest of the list contains a rich assortment of resources companies, media companies (including Tencent, another major Chinese media company), big banks, high tech, and other businesses.

Note this is not the complete list – the BBC website claims that the list Does not include any assets held in pooled funds.. The £1.2 billion represented by entries on the list cannot be the entire BBC pension fund, unless they have suffered major losses since the days of their big green pension play.

Nevertheless this does, in my opinion, qualify the BBC as being yet another group of green hypocrites – something worth considering, next time you view BBC content which discusses fossil fuel divestment, or a BBC article which discusses tobacco.

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106 thoughts on “BBC Pension: Heavily invested in Big Oil

  1. Wikipedia is not a reliable source. For each word you enter searching for information, the lines you read aren’t better than the prime sources refered to admits.

  2. Personally, I don’t see this as a hypocrisy, since the investment team SHOULD only focus on returns, and nothing else. In fact, it would be best if the investment team didn’t even know who they were working for. This is just smart investing, ideology be damned.

    • Oh. That’s what I was going to say.
      Let’s criticise the BBC for its editorial policy and 28-gate (and its cover up of paedophile employees, of course).
      Let’s not manufacture outrage over the fact that they have a pension scheme.

      • The BBC pension is an occupational pension. Every individual member of the pension scheme has the choice of leaving their pension in the scheme or moving it out of the scheme and into a private pension.
        If they believe that people should divest themselves of Oil, Gas and Tobacco investments then they should lead by example and divest themselves of their BBC pension and move their funds into a pension fund that does not invest in Oil, Gas and Tobacco.
        This will, of course, come at a heavy price when they retire as a private pension is unlikely to pay anywhere near as much as the BBC occupational pension. This is because the BBC tops up the pension with license fee money (more than $1 billion over next 4 years).
        By not leaving the pension scheme, those in the BBC who want others to divest themselves of Oil, Gas and Tobacco are being hypocritical.
        You can find details of the BBC investment policy here.


        The Trustees believe that its Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance strategy has an important role to play in safeguarding and enhancing the long term value of the Scheme’s assets.

        The Scheme is also a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and has signed up to their investor statement.

      • Well when financial considerations trumped ideology or strongly proclaimed beliefs, that used to be called hypocrisy. Like a minister who has lost the faith but proclaims the faith since it provides a good living.
        In your world apparently it is now being called not only practical but noble?

      • MCourtney April 4, 2015 at 11:05 pm
        Let’s not manufacture outrage over the fact that they have a pension scheme.

        While I agree is theory, it is none-the-less good information when you are confronted with arguments that institutions (E.G. academic) should divest themselves of “big oil” investments. You don’t always get to fight battles on territory of your choosing.

    • No, that’s not how it works. If you actually campaign about something, as the BBC does about climate change, then you cannot then invest in something that you believe adds to it. That’s ridiculous. No offence, Bruckner8, but under your logic, it would be perfectly acceptable for a vice cop to visit a prostitute in his spare time! The idea that Roger Harrabin would daily peddle his nonsense about climate change, then draw his pension funded by the very thing he says is causing it, is pricelessly-funny. But more than that, it IS hypocrisy.

      • Ghost is exactly right. It is hypocrisy, no more and no less.
        Fen’s Law:
        The Left believes none of the things they lecture the rest of us about.

      • Not so. The BBC and the BBC Pension Fund are different entities. It is actually rather important that the BBC not interfere with the Fund.

      • Heh, maybe those smart trustees are already on to the negative effect of BBC support. Those crafty fellas understand that if the BBC wants fossil fuel left in the ground, then the enlightened will be busy getting it out, sustaining the value of those assets.
        Now there’s the way to turn a profit from the apparent hypocrisy. Everybody wins, including the hypocrites at the BBC, though they may be a little disconcerted at how their efforts contributed to the win.
        ===============

      • Rather lame theclaim that bcause BBC and its fund are “different entities” what one does should not
        reflect on the other. But pension funds are ALWAYS seperate entities – if you excuse the BBC then you must excuse all those criticized by the left
        Regardless, the divestment strategy is nothing but PR – it will make not one whit of difference as log as their is demand for the products. Ironically, any effect would likely discourage the oil companies from investing in new energy sources.

      • Your moral equivalence is all wrong, comparing prostitution (illegal) and making money (the investing team’s job). I do it all the time! For example, I own ZERO products by Apple, but it’s my largest holding. I think their prices are too high on all products; that there are alternative values in their competitors. Yet, I know the psyche of the people buying their products, willing to overpay for perceived elegance, usability and charm. Their profit margins are larger than Big Oil, lol. I go against my own “shopping morals” and buy the stock cuz I know it will make money. Period.

      • Bruckner8 says:
        …I own ZERO products by Apple, but it’s my largest holding. I think their prices are too high on all products; that there are alternative values in their competitors.
        This week I bought my first smartphone. I looked at the Apple6, and because my wife has a Samsung Galaxy, I looked at those, too. Just so you know, the iPhone was cheaper. So their prices are not too high. Well, all the smartphone prices are too high, but just sayin’…

      • Bruckner8 says:
        “…I own ZERO products by Apple, but it’s my largest holding. I think their prices are too high on all products; that there are alternative values in their competitors….”
        But; are you in the business of selling advice to trusting minions indicating that they should sell any holdings they might have in crApple on the grounds that crApple are overpriced rip-off merchants whose products are functionally crap? Are you going on to inform your trusting minions that owning crApple stock is therefore immoral and that selling their stock will somehow make crApple’s activities illegitimate? Do as I say, not as I do…
        …because if you were, then I’d accuse you of being just as big a hypocrite as the gossip columnists at the BBC.

      • It is like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) employees investing their pension money in South African Breweries. SAB owns all sorts of brewing houses like Budweiser and so on. It is quite possible for a pension fund to be directed not to invest in alcohol distributors or weapons manufacturers or tobacco or tropical biofuel plantations or Hollywood pornographic films or Las Vegas bordellos or wind farms. These sorts of sleazy, destructive enterprises can be avoided by giving the managers instructions.

    • The BBC is an ideological company, proselytize Leftist values.
      Of course the biggest BBC hypocrisy is that they use state violence to force to people to pay them, people that don’t want to.

    • Bruckner8
      That doesn’t make any sense.
      Your thinking that the Apple products are too expensive is not comparable if you had thought that Apple is that profits from main potential cause to the end of the world with Global Warming.
      It is a completely different ballpark.
      In essence you are saying it is equal finding a too expensive price with treason – causing death to everyone..

      • I am only saying one thing: That the investment team’s responsibility is to make money. Someone else has already noted that the pension team and biz team are different entities entirely. Can you imagine being the CEO of the Pension side, gettig call some morning from the Biz side, “Um, can you release holdings in all that big oil, fracking, coal, etc? It makes us look bad.”
        Pension guy: “My job is to maximize returns. If I do what you’re asking, returns will most likely go down. Maybe you should hire someone sympathetic to your cause, cuz I’m only interested…and in fact, required…to maximize ROI.”

  3. As politically motivated demand for a stock decreases and its share price decreases, its dividend yield increases, and its P/E ratio decreases. This means that stock is more of a bargain, assuming the political factor does not affect purchases of the company’s products/services. (People don’t drive less as a result of a big-name divestment from oil companies.) The time after the share price decrease from political factors is a good time to buy shares, assuming the political factor for share price has peaked out.
    Politically motivated divestment does not affect companies who are not in the market to sell more of their own shares. The punishment to the company is limited to its employees whose compensation packages are affected by the company’s stock price, which is generally top executives. Already, top executives have compensation packages that don’t sufficiently reward for having their companies make more money, or punish for making less money or losing money.

    • Yes, seems they want to invest more themselves and try to bring down the rate before they do.

    • These companies could just as easily go private in the unlikely event the shares became toxic.Public dislike for oil/gas companies is hardly overwhelming. As long as the demand is there, there will be companies supplying that demand. Divestment strategies are a sign of weakness in the greenie camp. Also ignorance of financial markets.

  4. Did the BBC say it had divested from fossil fuel? It would help to make your point about green hypocrisy if the article actually showed where and when the BBC promised to divest their pension fund from Big Oil. I have no idea if they did or didn’t. And after reading the article and most of the links, I still don’t know.

    • I d not know I do know that “The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley” answer above is sufficient to justify the post
      =======================================================================
      No, that’s not how it works. If you actually campaign about something, as the BBC does about climate change, then you cannot then invest in something that you believe adds to it. That’s ridiculous. No offence, Bruckner8, but under your logic, it would be perfectly acceptable for a vice cop to visit a prostitute in his spare time! The idea that Roger Harrabin would daily peddle his nonsense about climate change, then draw his pension funded by the very thing he says is causing it, is pricelessly-funny. But more than that, it IS hypocrisy.

  5. ironically the likes of Myles Allen never ask BBC to divest!
    21 March: BBC: Helen Briggs: Fossil fuels: Scientists draw up investment principles
    They include academics at Oxford, Imperial College London and Harvard.
    Prof Myles Allen, of Oxford University, said the move was similar to principles governing investment in South Africa under apartheid in the 1980s.
    “This is a challenging question being put to universities,” he told BBC News…
    In the past, there have been a number of successful divestment campaigns, including tobacco advertising and the South African divestment campaign of the 1980s.
    The fossil fuel campaign aims to pressure government and companies to leave oil, gas and coal in the ground…
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31872459
    16 March: BBC: Roger Harrabin: Oxford’s postponed divestment decision faces protest
    Former students occupied an Oxford building on Monday to protest the university’s failure to decide about divesting funds from fossil fuels…
    Joining the occupation was ***John Clements, Oxford’s director of finance from 1995 to 2004. He said: “We are bitterly disappointed about the university’s failure to come to a decision. Oxford should be leading the move away from investment in all world-destroying fossil fuel companies to more sustainable forms of energy.”
    These events played out as the UN’s climate body, the UNFCCC, said it supported divestment – and the Guardian newspaper launched a petition urging the Gates and Wellcome Trusts to divest…
    http://www.bbc.com/news/health-31877595
    ***Harrabin deceptively mentions Clements past job, but not his present one:
    LinkedIn: John Clements
    Finance Officer at People & Planet, Oxford
    December 2006 – Present
    Previous:
    Director of Finance
    University Of Oxford
    October 1995 – June 2004
    Wikipedia: People & Planet
    Type: Company Limited by Guarantee and Charity registered in England & Wales and Scotland.
    People & Planet is funded primarily from governmental grants, trusts and foundations, and an increasingly successful social enterprise training FE and school students…
    Notable People: The environmental campaigner and journalist George Monbiot is patron of People & Planet…
    from People & Planet website:
    PeopleandPlanet.org: Students campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights & protect the environment
    Fund Fossil Free
    All over the UK we are winning, can you help us keep up the pressure?
    This year, slowly but surely the power of the student divestment movement is growing. Students at universities and colleges are taking on the giants, the fossil fuel industry, who are no longer laughing, they are fighting us…

    • Myles Allen – “was similar to principles governing investment in South Africa under apartheid in the 1980s”
      Yes fossil fuels and apartheid not much difference! What a nasty man Myles Allen is, such a comparison is really disgraceful!

  6. I don’t quite see the hypocricy in this. The editorial freedom of a newspaper/broadcasting organization is sacrosanct and should be independent of how the publisher/owners run the organisation.

    • Well then, that principle should be equally applicable to all institutions irrespective of political / environmental philosophy … but, it isn’t.

    • But Chris, that is not the issue. The BBC does indeed have editorial freedom (it is to the left in Britain, whereas the current government is to the right), and it will even run news items on itself at times – though it also stays silent when it chooses. But this is about journalists future money coming from something that they say is causing climate change! Roger Harrabin will spout nonsense that fossil fuels are causing climate change, and will THEN pay for his end of life with money from fossil fuels.
      Are you sure you can’t see the hypocrisy, Chris?

      • But the journalists have no say in how a pension fund manages its investments. I doubt whether the journalists even know what their pension funds’s investments portfolio looks like. Maybe they could initiate a protest action against their own pension fund, but I doubt that that will have any effect on the management of the fund. They will say: “you take care of the news etc. but we have different objectives”.

      • > But the journalists have no say in how a pension fund manages its investments.
        Yes they do. There are 9 trustees, 4 appointed by the BBC, 3 active members of the scheme (effectively BBC employees), 1 elected by the pensioners and the ninth appointed by the other 8 trustees. The journalists are represented on the board of trustees.
        Each journalist also has a choice as to whether to take part in the pension scheme or take out their own private pension. If they choose to take part then they are choosing to invest in Oil and Gas are being hypocritical telling others to divest.

      • And being so politically correct, surely the BBC’s pension scheme offers members the choice to direct their share of its funds be invested only in companies that operate in “green” parts of the economy??

    • ” I don’t quite see the hypocricy in this. The editorial freedom of a newspaper/broadcasting organization is sacrosanct and should be independent of how the publisher/owners run the organisation.”
      “should” is a weasel word

      • I wonder if 97% of investment brokers and others in the business are believers of global warming?
        I read that Warren Buffett hauls oil on his railroad.

    • Chris Schoneveld
      April 4, 2015 at 11:16 pm
      “I don’t quite see the hypocricy in this. The editorial freedom of a newspaper/broadcasting organization is sacrosanct and should be independent of how the publisher/owners run the organisation.”
      The BBC is financed by money extorted from the population by a gang of armed thugs a.k.a the state. Nothing about the BBC (or German state media to name a similar organisation) is “sacrosanct”; everything about it is amoral and criminal.

      • Indeed. But also there are some 200,000 convictions for non-payment of the license fee (Which I think is still GBP145 p/a and I am sure now covers live media streaming devices like PC’s and mobile smartphones), some of these convictions lead to gaol terms.
        I am glad I don’t fund the BBC (Replaced with the ABC and SBS in Australia) anymore!

  7. what’s good for thee, but not for me:
    Sept 2014: BBC: Rockefellers to switch investments to ‘clean energy’
    Pledges from pension funds, religious groups and big universities have reportedly doubled since the start of 2014…
    Rockefeller Brothers Fund director Stephen Heintz said the move to divest from fossil fuels would be in line with oil tycoon John D Rockefeller’s wishes,
    “We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Mr Heintz said in a statement…
    At the scene: Matt McGrath, Environment Correspondent, BBC News
    The event held to launch the Rockefellers’ news was more revivalist meeting than press conference. There was whooping, cheering, hollering and stamping of feet.
    Archbishop Desmond Tutu appeared by video and told the assembly that the move was “a tipping point of transition to a new energy economy that was just and equitable”…
    Actor Mark Ruffalo, who also signed the pledge, told the conference: “These are not silly people, these are people who know how to deal with money.”
    They recognised that clean energy was “the future”, he said – prompting more whooping, cheering and stamping of feet…
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29310475
    4 April: UK Telegraph: Christopher Booker: Why the BBC’s preaching on global warming is getting louder
    The global ‘climate treaty’ many are so desperate to see signed in Paris next December is just not going to happen
    In wishing you all a happy Easter, I was planning to discuss what exactly the fact that this Easter we have fewer primroses in Somerset than usual has to do with “climate change”. But I have had to hold this over because I need to send a message of sympathy to the BBC for how they have lately had to treat us almost daily to programmes trying to defend the collapsing case for global warming.
    I particularly enjoyed one on the World Service explaining, with the aid of a psychologist, why people these days seem to be going on about global warming much less they did a few years ago; and even more the one on Radio 4 in which a studio-full of devout warmists tried to dismiss some of the more awkward scientific objections raised by “climate sceptics”, without having a single “sceptic” present.
    But if you were wondering why the BBC has recently been so keen to preach to us on this subject even more relentlessly than usual, this is, of course, because of that global “climate treaty” they are so desperate to see signed in Paris next December. Unfortunately, this coming of the long-awaited Messiah is not going to happen, for exactly the same reason that made such a fiasco of their last great religious rally in Copenhagen in 2009. China, India and Russia, three of the world’s top five “carbon-emitting” nations, aren’t going to have it…
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/11515594/Why-the-BBCs-preaching-on-global-warming-is-getting-louder.html

  8. Marshall of climatedenial.org on preaching to the unconverted!
    4 April: Guardian: George Marshall: What the climate movement must learn from religion
    When preaching to the unconverted, activists need to offer the road to Damascus, not guilt and blame
    PHOTO CAPTION: A Billy Graham rally. ‘In evangelical crusades people are called upon to step forward to accept a change in their life – what Billy Graham called the “altar call”, or a moment of public commitment.’…
    Climate scientists are particularly keen to keep well away from the language of belief. Australia’s chief scientist, Ian Chubb, complains: “I am asked every day ‘do you believe in climate change?’ But it’s not a belief. It’s an understanding and interpretation of the evidence.”
    Evidence, though, comes in many forms. Social research shows clearly that the scientific data of climate change has proven unable to galvanise action. Cognitive psychology, supported in recent years by brain neuro-imaging, provides plentiful evidence that our analytic reasoning may accept the data but that we are only compelled to act by emotional triggers based on our values and core identity.
    “Belief” is a poisoned word, mocked by sceptical pundits like Nigel Lawson who calls climate change a “new religion” Comparing empirical science with spiritual revelation is absurd and denigrates both sides. Climate change is not a belief. But it is a conviction: a condition of strongly held opinion, attained through a process of evaluation, leading to a commitment…
    The world’s great religions are the winners from thousands of competing religions that managed to find the formulae for moving, exciting and persuading people.
    Few have continued the experiments more consistently than the evangelical preachers who compete every day in the cultural marketplace for new converts and donors. Among them is Joel Hunter, the charismatic pastor of Northland church, the 30th largest “megachurch” in the USA.
    Hunter preaches often, over the objections of his conservative church members, that climate change is a threat to God’s creation, which he shares with them as a personal “epiphany”…
    John Houghton is the founding co-chair of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a Methodist lay preacher. In 2002 he created an “altar call” for US evangelical leaders – many of them deeply sceptical about climate change – following a week of scientific study and prayer at Oxford University. Among those attendingwas Richard Cizik,then the lead political spokesperson for the National Association of Evangelicals, and one of the most powerful figures in the Christian right. To the horror of his colleagues, when Cizik returned he began talking about his “road to Damascus conversion to climate change” all over the US media. Like Houghton, Professor Brian Hoskins, the director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, argues that scientific information needs this transformative moment. “Often what we do is provide the landscape in which Saint Paul can have his moment. We are creating the ether in which people can have that illumination.”…
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/04/climate-change-campaigners-evangelism-religion-activism
    (About the writer: George Marshall is the founder of the Climate Outreach Information Network and author of Don’t Even Think About It: Why our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. He blogs at http://www.climatedenial.org)

    • Yeh, it’s religious, a self-loathing one. Hey, there’s gotta be some energy in that one.
      ===========

  9. The BBC also spends a lot of time criticising companies like Amazon and Google that clearly do business here but pay very little tax. They’ve already been shown to help their employees with tax by the way they pay them and have been left slightly red faced when the public found out. Put it all together and the BBC are a bunch of two faced stinkers.
    I’m growing to love the guardian campaign.

    • Getting off-topic, but I feel I have to reply to VI’s comment about “ongoing warming”.
      I’m 41 years old, and in my lifetime global temps have risen roughly just 0.6 degrees, and only 0.8 degrees in over 100 years. Here’s the graph using the hopelessly warm-biased GISTEMP data to show what I mean (don’t know if it’ll come up as an image or a link):
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1900/to:2014
      To put this pathetic rise into perspective I prefer to look at the data as it would appear on an alcohol thermometer (in Farenheit);
      https://suyts.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/image_thumb69.png?w=639&h=366
      Lordy Marjorie! Quick, get my shorts and vest! That thermometer’s looking scary and I’m beginning to sweat my nuts off!
      In 2005 alarmists at UNEP told us that by 2010 50million over-heated climate refugees would be wandering a parched planet, like some sort of scene from Mad Max. Jim ‘Floppy Hat’ Hansen told us in 1986 that within 20 years (2006) the world would have warmed 2 degrees and water would be cascading over NYC’s West Side Highway because of all the scary sea-level rise. Prof Viner told us that children “won’t know what snow is” – tell that to everyone on the US East coast today!
      In short, none of these ridiculous predictions have come true and the globe has warmed a miniscule amount. The warmistas need to give it up as no one’s convinced by there incessant whining.

      • ‘their’ not ‘there’.
        Wretched auto-correct. It does a worse job than the hacks over at the Grauniad.

      • David Smith: 41? Hmm…Vintage ’74? I could be censored (as many of my – on topic, on message comments are) by Mr S. S. Mod for replying to an off topic comment. But briefly, you ignore the d_n_a “Coolistas” many failed predictions of imminent cooling sun driven dooom!!

    • Village Idiot says:
      …Earths ongoing warming
      Do you actually believe that?? If so, you are saying that satellite data is wrong. Care to explain why?
      Also, your link calls skeptic a “fringe view”. In reality the fringe view is held by the climate alarmist crowd, as we see from the OISM results. What they have going for them is a complicit media, and government mouthpieces.
      If you disagree, show us your cohort of more than 31,000 scientists and engineers by name, who disagree with the OISM statement.

    • VI,
      Yep, the coolistas predictions of an instant ice age ‘Hoth Style’ planet Earth were just as ridiculous as the current predictions of imminent thermagedon.
      It seems that some people (John Holdren, Stephen Schneider, etc.) will hitch their wagon to any disaster, be it cooling or warming.

  10. Seems ironic that the BBC reporters are doing their very best to destroy their pensions BUT I think there is a government guarantee of 75% if the fund goes belly up. So not so bad perhaps.
    Maybe their reporters don’t know about these investments.

  11. The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
    April 5, 2015 at 12:41 am
    But Chris, that is not the issue. The BBC does indeed have editorial freedom (it is to the left in Britain, whereas the current government is to the right),
    Chris is showing a lot of naivety here I’m afraid. GBJC is right about most of his critique but may I venture to suggest that the centre of politics has been moved in the UK?
    The BBC is to the left-left of the old polis and the current government are to the left (progressives is what cameron called his coalition) of the old tories and I mean way to the left.

  12. Since the “The BBC’s pension is all in green funds” canard appears so frequently, whenever their bias is discussed, a sticky to their pension fund should be on every sceptic website.

  13. Is divesting from tobacco crops a good substitute for giving up smoking?
    So how can anyone continue to use fossil fuels, whilst telling other people that they are evil?
    A credible org would actually go 100% off-grid first, before a divestment plan.
    Eric Worrall’s articles aim of highlighting is laudable, but the article is flawed with the title being misleading “BBC Pension: Heavily invested in Big Oil”.
    The fund is huge, maybe $30bn, so by only talking about the $2bn in equitities he misses answering the big question of whether the other $28bn is heavily invested in big Oil or BigGreen (*It is effectively a PR agency for the GreenBlob of vested interests).
    – No one has yet managed to come up with an answer to that big question.
    (* Note that it is not the majority of BBC employees that are the problem, many act honestly, it’s just that there are many key Eco-Warriors employees on Climate Cult evangelical mission work)

      • No @arthur4563 you misunderstand of the $2 invested in equities (ie direct company shares) the vast majority is NOT invested in evil oil/tobacco. Eric simply draws our attention to £40.6 million in Shell, and £31 million investment in Imperial Tobacco. But of the remaining $28bn hidden in other investment types which may even be in sub-investing in other funds themselves, we don’t know the details unless someone does a complex analysis. The BBCPension might actually have $10bn in “oil arms tobacco” or they might even have $10bn in GreenBlob subsidy sucker corps and hedgefunds etc.

  14. Unless there is some explicit clause in the constitution of this pension scheme which allows for ethical or other non-financial factors to influence investment decisions, I doubt that the trustees could have any legal basis for trying to impose such restrictions even if they wanted to. The obligations and responsibilities of pension fund trustees are quite strict.

    • Ethics improve all human behavior, and any unethical action degrades said endeavor, regardless of laws. If I truly thought you were making money killing humans, and would likely make more money in the future killing more humans, and I invested in that action hoping to profit from it, I would be a hypocritical jerk. Corporate behavior is nothing more then individual behavior, writ large.
      (BTW, I can assure you that there are many ethics based laws governing pensions)

  15. Here is part of the Pension Funds “Responsible Investment Policy” (my bold)

    The Trustees have appointed Hermes Equity Ownership Services (EOS) to vote at company meetings on behalf of Trustees. EOS also engages with companies on governance, ethical and environmental considerations. EOS is expected to exercise votes in accordance with the EOS’s Responsible Ownership Principles and such higher standards as agreed with the Trustees, unless they believe that doing so would not be in the best financial interests of the Scheme. EOS is expected to develop policies on socially, ethically and environmentally responsible investing and to encourage these practices in the course of engagements where these will enhance or protect companies’ long-term prospects.

    In other words the fund will support “environmental” issues provided it doesn’t interfere with their financial interests.

    • Funny how that works. Also funny how it exposes that in terms of short and long term self-interest, climate change is way down there on the priority list.

  16. They all drive cars and live in heated houses. Their pension seems a level removed from the reality of their hypocricy.

  17. The BBC would be the first to report a financial connection between a leading sceptic and Big Oil.
    I don’t see much difference between the position of the BBC and that of the Guardian. As pointed out, the BBC staff can decide where to place their pension contributions and the management can instruct their pension providers on investment sectors to avoid.
    If the BBC observed its obligation to be impartial this would not be a problem.

    • This issue is being beaten up beyond reason. The BBC would be in huge trouble if it interfered with the BBC Pension Fund’s investments. The BBC and the Fund are different entities and must remain at arm’s length. That’s why trustees are interposed between the BBC and the Fund, and why some trustees are appointed by someone other than the BBC. The BBC may well be hugely embarrassed by the Fund having oil and tobacco investments, but they simply cannot step in and get the investments changed, because the Fund has to be, and has to be seen to be, independent of the BBC.

      • Most important that the trustees never listen to a BBC broadcast. There, you see, no problem.
        =============

      • And were they to listen to the BBC, let them only listen to the reporting on Big Oil that is the Big Green part. There, now, everybody happy. Not a hypocrite to be found in this, over-arching, cause.
        =========

      • The BBC is hardly “independent” of its pension fund. Presumably the pension fund is under some guidance as to which investments they can have, which would come from the BBC,NOT the guys running their fund. As of now, for certain, those “independent” BBC folks know that oil,etc is a big part of their pension fund. If others can find that out, so can those great investigative employees at the BBC.

      • You bring up an interesting point that since biased news reporting can control the value of various industries or stocks they need to be separate. Manipulating the news to bolster held assets would be a no-no.
        However since pension investments are public knowledge, the risk is and has always been there. Never mind the ability of editors and journalists to have their own individual investments in stocks or funds.
        The bottom line is this, if you or I or anyone with pension investments can control our pension fund investments, I am sure the BBC and it’s employees can as well. That they choose not to indicates they think divesting is not very important to fuss about or that it is an unfavorable financial risk. Either way to stop looking like idiots, hypocrites or idiotic-hypocrites it is to their benefit to drop the whole divesting, evil fossil-fuel slant.

    • Schrodinger’s Cat says:
      The BBC would be the first to report a financial connection between a leading sceptic and Big Oil.
      That’s the central point. Since the BBC is not impartial, it’s fair game to beat them over the head with their hypocrisy. They say one thing and do another. I am not willing to give them a free pass on it. As Alinsky says, make them live up to their own ideals.

  18. BBC is not fit for purpose as a supposed touted unbiased Broadcasting facility forcibly paid for by a TV Tax
    A totally free (main stream) press / media is as much a myth as global warming / climate change itself

      • A the saying goes,

        “Money talks and the B…S… walks”.

        BBC belief in their warnings about climate change is proven BS since they do not put their money where their mouth is.
        It does raise the question, if they don’t really believe it, why broadcast it. Is it just an additional cynical financial consideration, namely that natural/man-made disasters sells more news?

      • Mike Jonas,
        “Nothing” to do with it?
        They have a lot to do with it. As noted above, BBC journalists have a say in divestment decisions. If they’re going to be holier-than-thou about “climate change”, they need to lead the way.

  19. Heh, we tell you to divest, while hiding our eyes from our own investment.
    This isn’t hypocrisy, this is telling you to do what they say and not what they do. And it’s for your own good, ya know, Honey.
    ==========================

  20. All UK company pension funds that I have been a member of (5, I think) have on the board of trustees, a number of management appointments and a lesser number of employee apointments.
    This is or was the usual way of doing things in the UK. After all, the pension fund is for the benefit of the company employees, funded mainly by the employer, so it seems only right and proper that the company and its employees should get oversight/control of the fund.
    The concept of ‘arms length’ is ludicrous in this situation.
    If the fund managers had a bad day and decided to ruin the fund, the ‘arms length’ situation would prevent a company and its workforce from doing anything about it. Plainly daft.

  21. Also on the BBC pension web page:
    “The Scheme is also a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and has signed up to their investor statement. You can get a copy of the statement by visiting their website.”
    Which is pretty gungho for man made climate change…..

  22. “I do need to scotch one particularly bizarre bit of blogbabble, though. Some bloggers depict me as a puppet for the BBC’s pension fund trustees trying to boost their investments in green technology.” Lord Haw Haw-arrabin on WUWT in 2011
    “My real motive is to try to do a decent job telling people about things that are important and they probably didn’t already know. ”
    …didn’t know Roger, cos they mostly come from the fantasy universe of you and your other climate cult friends.

  23. What better way to redistribute capital by making money from your enemies. If one buys a stock of a successful company it doesn’t affect the balance sheet, the company continues to do whatever it is they were doing regardless. The beauty of Capitalism.

  24. The point is that they denigrate people as in the pay of big oil. It appears that they are not only in the pay of big oil but also taking the taxpayer pound while sneering at them. Let the BBC eat cake. Their day is nearly done.

  25. If the left exemplified by the BBC could pass a law to prevent investing in oil companies they would, after of course exempting themselves from the law.

  26. The fact that the BBC Pension fund invests in ‘green politically incorrect’ funds show good sense. A point that should be highly educational to the BBC news fakirs; lessons they appear desperate to avoid.
    The question about BBC investments should be have they ever invested in ‘green’ technology, e.g. solar, wind, hamster generators, etc.? What is the current status of those investments? along with any BBC profit/loss positions should be the real worry to BBC employees that plan living on BBC retirement annuities.

  27. Perhaps this is not hypocrisy but a ploy to increase their retirement benefits. The BBC pushes this divestment ploy, buys up all of the cheap oil stock, then 20 years from now the stock is worth 20-40 time as much.

    • Heh, likely, but attributable to luck rather than deviousness. Re: Hydrocarbons. We ain’t makin’ anymore of ’em, well, none ta speak of, so yeah, how rare the future.
      =============

      • They can’t lose – The less there is the more the oil stock is worth, and there is more than enough oil, coal and natural gas for at least 100 and likely more than 200 years. Quit reading the green stories of doom. They have been claiming there are only about 50 years of fossil fuels left every year for more than 100 years. Besides that, when Fusion finally is made viable (something else that has bee forecasted to be achieved in about 10 years every year since about 1960), the oil companies will just rebrand into that effort.

      • “Besides that, when Fusion finally is made viable (something else that has bee forecasted to be achieved in about 10 years every year since about 1960), the oil companies will just rebrand into that effort.”
        That never works. Mostly because at any given moment, for an established industry titan, a new upstarting field is just child’s play revenue-wise and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. My favorite example is Xerox, they nearly died when their xerography patent ran out EVEN THOUGH they had prepared for it and developed fantastic computer tech at PARC. But failing to monetize it, they got overtaken by IBM PC’s/Microsoft and Apple (who even hired their top developer and re-implemented the windowing surfaces he had designed at PARC).

  28. You’d think they would have vastly reduced their exposure during this period of plummeting oil prices.

  29. As the BBC pretends to be convinced that fossil fuel use kills the planet, the principle of independence of their pension fund must clearly make way for higher considerations, namely saving the planet at all COSTS. In other words, if the BBC weasels were not slimy liars but actually honest, they WOULD override the indepence of their pension fund management and GLADLY take any resulting losses, ALL of the little BBC thugs would happily agree with that, after all, what good is a slightly higher pension payment in a world destroyed by Global Warming.
    So yes, they are slimy liars as expected.

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