We have just observed major changes in the list of ‘USS top 100 equities’ on the website (https://www.uss.co.uk/how-uss-invests/the-fund/investments/uss-top-100-listed-equities). In total these represented over £ 1 Billion disinvested from carbon intensive industries. This appears to be a massive change in investment strategy and one that we believe is in line with the views of most USS members.
In summary the changes are:
Shell was £ 498 million now £ 122 million
Pioneer was £ 119 million now not in top 100
Lundin was £ 110 million now not in top 100
EOG was £ 114 million now not in top 100
Equinor was £ 107 million now not in top 100
Reliance was £ 75 million now not in top 100
Petroleo Brasil was £ 72 million now not in top 100
CNOOC was £ 72 million now not in top 100
Gazprom was £ 56 million now not in top 100
Zurich airport was £ 257 million now not in top 100
Ryanair was £ 131 million now not in top 100
So has USS divested over £ 1 billion from carbon intensive industries?? The changes appear bigger than those that would result simply from the share prices going down as a result of the financial impact of the pandemic. It’s possible that USS are making short term sales and will buy back the shares in the future however USS say the list of holdings is posted each March and October so the changes could have been made 3 months ago (though web page says updated 27 days ago).
We are cautiously optimistic that USS has recognised the financial and environmental risks of the oil and gas industries and think they should be congratulated on these changes. We will watch carefully to see if oil and gas investments creep back in to this list in the future.
And finally – the holding in Raytheon – who make missiles to carry weapons amongst other things – has also gone down – from £ 209 million to £ 80 million so more good news!