Climate justice activists are taking part in online and physically-distanced protests in Glasgow today to urge the city’s pension fund to end its £508 million investments in coal, oil and gas companies in order to tackle the worsening climate crisis.[1]

The protests come ahead of a crucial vote on Wednesday 2nd June [2] when Councillors on the Strathclyde Pension Fund Committee will decide what to do about Glasgow City Council’s decision to back divestment of the pension fund’s £508 million pound investments in highly polluting fossil fuel companies, including Shell, BP, Chevron and Exxon. [3]

The motion to be considered on Wednesday would, if passed, mark the first time the Fund endorsed divestment as an option for dealing with polluting companies, potentially paving the way for a world-leading divestment policy to be approved later this year. [4]

The Strathclyde Pension Fund is the joint largest local government fund in the UK worth an estimated £24Billion. It is run on behalf of 250,000 fund members in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

Divestment of Strathclyde Pension Fund’s fossil fuel investments would be the largest of its type ever in the UK. Campaigners say that a final divestment decision later this year would show Glasgow’s commitment to climate action as it prepares to hold the UN climate conference COP26 in November.

In Glasgow, local activists gathered outside the City Chambers for a small physically-distanced banner protest and to hand over an open letter to the Pension Fund Committee calling on them to show climate leadership by divesting from fossil fuels.

*** Free to use, print quality photos from the Glasgow protest available ** https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/11ZufpfnUEu0lFY_iHMLg1DXRzmc68wM0

Activists from across the UK are posting images on social media of themselves holding placards with slogans including #DivestStrathclydePensionFund, #ClimateJustice and #PlanToDivest.

In April, Glasgow City Councillors voted by a majority of 69 votes to 4 in support of divesting the pension fund from fossil fuels with support by the SNP, Labour and Greens. [5] Divestment also featured as part of the city’s recently published Climate Emergency Implementation Plan.

Chris Nicholson, Strathclyde Pension Fund member and member of Divest Strathclyde, said:

“This vote is a chance for Glasgow to make history. The political will from Glasgow’s councillors and the public support are already there for Strathclyde Pension Fund to end investments in the fossil fuel companies that are most responsible for the climate crisis.

“As Glasgow prepares to host the UN climate talks, this is a vital opportunity for the city to show climate leadership and to stand in solidarity with communities around the world who are already suffering the worst impacts of climate breakdown. Retaining the status quo is no longer enough as the climate crisis is getting worse every day; nothing but bold action will suffice”.

Sally Clark  Friends of the Earth Scotland Divestment Campaigner said:

“With the UN climate talks coming to Glasgow, the Pension Fund must be instructed to set a clear, time-bound path that results in the selling off of their shares and investments in these fossil fuel polluters. By being allowed to continue to pour money into oil and gas, fund managers are gambling that climate policies being set by Councils and Governments will fail.

“The vast majority of coal, oil and gas reserves must remain in the ground if global heating is to be limited to the levels pledged by governments across the world. Councillors must seize this moment and keep pushing for the action that will end investments in the polluting companies who are speeding us to climate catastrophe.

Michael Carr, Strathclyde Pension Fund Member and Climate Activist said,

“I don’t want my pension to fund investment in fossil fuels. I want the Strathclyde Pension Fund to invest in a sustainable future for my children.”

Last week a Dutch court ordered oil giant Shell to immediately drastically reduce its climate emissions. The company’s activities and plans were judged not to be in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.



Notes to Editors

*** Free to use, print quality photos from the Glasgow protest available at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/11ZufpfnUEu0lFY_iHMLg1DXRzmc68wM0

[1] The socially-distanced protest was carried out within government guidelines with participants wearing masks throughout.

[2] Divestment motion to be discussed by the Strathclyde Pension Fund Committee https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/submissiondocuments.asp?submissionid=100599

[3]Research has shown that Scottish Council Pensions invest £1.2billion in fossil fuel polluters https://foe.scot/press-release/revealed-scottish-council-pensions-invest-1-2billion-in-fossil-fuel-polluters/

[4] The Pensions Committee will meet on Wednesday 2 June at 1.30PM

[5] On 1st April 2021 Glasgow City Council endorsed a plan to end their £500 million investment in fossil fuels. The motion was approved by a full meeting of Glasgow City Council by a margin of 69 votes to 4 against

[6] For more information about fossil fuels and divestment, please read:
Divesting to Protect Our Pensions and the Planet, 2021 Report

Big Oil Reality Check — Assessing Oil And Gas Climate Plans

List of organisations and politicians who have divested

[7] Historic victory: judge forces Shell to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

[8] Divest Strathclyde is the campaign to get the Strathclyde Pension Fund to drop investments in fossil fuel companies and other big polluters, and re-invest the money in ethical and sustainable alternatives.

[9] Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.