BC teachers are rising up to protect pensions from climate chaos
February 16, 2023
Teachers are increasingly concerned about the risk of the climate crisis for students, as well as financial risk to savings that puts hardworking educators’ retirement in serious danger.
Communities across British Columbia, Canada know the dangers of climate chaos all too well: from dangerous heat and destructive wildfires to record breaking rainfall and catastrophic flooding, BC has been at the epicentre of weather extremes.
That’s why teachers across the province are coming together to increase pressure on pension funds, particularly the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF), demanding BCTF follow through on the overwhelming vote at its March 2022 shareholder meeting to divest its over $37.8 billion pension fund from fossil fuels.
The BCTF represents 49,000 public school teachers, and over 1000 emails have been sent to the Federation’s executives demanding action on the climate resolution voted on in early 2022. BC Teachers’ pension savings are invested through the Teachers’ Pension Plan (TPP), by the $211 billion British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI). The TPP contains many of the dirtiest fossil fuel and pipeline companies in the world including Chevron, and TC Energy (the company behind Coastal GasLink), which is currently drilling on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.
To date, over 1550 institutions representing more than $40 trillion in assets have committed to some level of fossil fuel divestment. Institutional investors around the world are moving quickly to protect portfolios from the financial risks of climate change and invest in a safe climate future.
This comes ahead of the BCTF’s annual general meeting (AGM) on March 18-21, 2023. The Canadian pension sector is falling behind, and remains invested in the oil, gas, coal and pipeline companies whose business models are misaligned with the scale of action that is needed to combat the climate crisis.