Public sector pension (superannuation) funds around the world invest some of their funds in tobacco companies in the form of shares and bonds.  Here in the UK virtually all local authority pension funds do so.  This site exists to robustly challenge that position with one simple aim:  to eliminate public sector pension fund investment in tobacco companies.

  1. paul.kinnersley1@ntlworld.com
    December 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Hi – I’m an academic GP in Cardiff – we’ve just found out that USS – the university pension scheme has around £ 213 million invested in british american tobacco – we are writing to them challenging this but expect them to come back with a reply along the lines that they have to invest in a way to make as much money as possible – if youhave thoughts on how we challenge this would be grateful

    paul kinnersley

    • December 14, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Hi Paul

      I strongly recommend the Fair Pensions briefing. Although it is specifically for local government the arguments are very similar. In particular, the narrow interpretation of fiduciary duty can be challenged, and especially if their policy as Trustees is to abdicate responsibility by passing decision making to professional fund managers. My understanding is that they cannot do this. I’d also suggest that you ask the Trustees to seek the views of fund members on this issue, but it is crucial to stick strictly to tobacco only, or tobacco and other issues that are the subject of international treaty such as cluster bombs. Don’t open the door to alcohol, fast food, gambling etc. Tobacco is in a category of its own as a consumer product – it kills when used as intended. To make a detailed case you could use the Norwegian and New Zealand ethics reports as source material. Search my blog for Fair pensions, Norway and New Zealand for links to all these docs.

      I think you will find that as well as making a case you will need to pose specific requests to the Trustees along the lines suggested at the end of the Fair Pensions report. While making clear your request for divestment, tactically you could suggest that they seek advice on the legality of divestment as well as the views of members.

      I understand that there are university funds in the USA that have successfully divested from tobacco, but I don’t know of any in the UK, but there may be.

      I’m happy to comment on any draft submission to the Trustees if you wish.


      Stewart Brock

      • Paul Kinnersley
        December 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm


        I attach the email that I would propose sending to the USS directors which have been appointed by the University and college union

        Would welcome comments



  2. Barry Gibson
    December 19, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Mr Brock,

    Hello, my name is Barry Gibson and I work for the BBC. I would like to talk to you about tobacco investments. I would be grateful if you could give me a call on 0161 836 1314.

    Thanks for your time,

  3. July 31, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Hi, thanks for a great website. You might be interested in a website looking at the investments of the East Sussex County Council Pension Fund:


    In particular, the page looking at proposals for change:


  4. November 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I’m a freelance journalist and I’m looking to speak to somebody who runs this website. It would be appreciated if you could get it touch with me.

    Email: Stephen.McGrath@hotmail.com

    Tel: 07982393464

    Best wishes,

  5. Sherlock
    November 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hi, I’m working in a local authority and have been asked to look into our pension fund (discreetly) to assess the scale of tobacco investments and the arguments for disinvesting. Despite my searching I have been unable to find any good reports, audits or council papers on this issue. I’m probably looking in the wrong place! Do you know of any you may have to hand? Ideally some paper laying out the pros and cons in an even handed manner.
    Thank you for any advice or help you can give.

    Sorry can’t use my official e-mail

    • November 22, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Did you receive my email with the various attachments?


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