The Scottish Greens’ Ross Greer has called on Renfrewshire council to follow the lead of Glasgow City Council, which last week overwhelmingly endorsed a proposal from Green councillors to end its pension fund investments in fossil fuels.
The Strathclyde Pension Fund (SPF), which covers Renfrewshire as well as Glasgow City and 9 other local councils, has over £500 million worth of holdings in fossil fuel companies. This major decision is the first time a council covered by the Strathclyde Fund, the largest in Scotland, has called for divestment from fossil fuels. It comes two months after it was revealed that the fund’s fossil fuel investments have lost £43million in value over the last three years.
Ross Greer, who was the Scottish Green MSP for the West of Scotland in the last term of Parliament and is currently running for re-election, said: “Millions of people across Scotland either already rely on or will in their future rely on pensions provided by funds like Strathclyde. It’s clear that fossil fuels are an increasingly risky place to put that money, whereas moving it into industries with a strong future, such as housebuilding or renewables, will guarantee a stable financial return for decades to come.
“The climate crisis is already impacting the poorest communities the hardest. We need to stop pouring money into the very thing we know is making this problem worse. Scottish Green councillors in Glasgow have shown leadership and now it’s time for the other Strathclyde area councils, including Renfrewshire to back them, otherwise they’re simply fuelling the crisis.”
Isla Scott from Divest Strathclyde, which has campaigned in support of the move, said: “After years of campaigning, we are very happy and relieved that Glasgow councillors are showing the climate leadership that the city needs as we head towards COP26. The continued investment of over £500 million in fossil fuels was abhorrent, and cannot be justified in a climate crisis. These kind of toxic investments risks pensioners’ money being lost in stranded assets, money that could be better invested in funding climate solutions and a just transition to a green economy.
“It is now up to the leaders of Strathclyde Pension Fund to decide to follow the clear direction set out by Glasgow City Councillors at today’s vote and begin the process to remove the pension fund’s investments in climate-wrecking fossil fuel companies.”