Major civil society organisations representing workers, gender equality, faith and environmental campaigns have called on the Scottish Government to make sure the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) exists to make Scotland greener and more equal.

Responding to the public consultation that closes today (20/11/17) on the Bank’s direction and governance, organisations including UNISON, RSPB Scotland, SCIAF, Common Weal, Engender and Friends of the Earth Scotland said that the SNIB has a fantastic opportunity to make Scotland fairer and greener.

UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said,

“UNISON welcomes the decision to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB). We have long argued that increased public investment is essential and that austerity policies are immensely damaging to the economy as well as to families struggling to get by. We agree that the SNIB is an opportunity to seize the economic opportunities of tackling climate change, but this must be done through an inclusive approach based on Just Transition principles.”

Engender Executive Director Emma Ritch said,

“We see huge potential for the National Investment Bank to enable Scotland to move closer to gender equality. If designed with equality, non-discrimination, and inclusive growth at its heart, the Scottish National Investment Bank can support much-needed investment in child and social care, alongside green technologies.

“Climate change is affecting women and men differently, and measures to tackle it must also be gendered. It is vital that the Scottish National Investment bank is developed with an understanding of how it can be used to support Scotland’s work for gender equality, through its governance, its investment criteria, and its measures of success.”

RSPB Scotland Senior Policy Officer Alexa Morrison said,

“Given the urgent need for more investment in our natural environment and tackling climate change, we strongly support the Scottish Government’s proposals to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank. This is also a great opportunity for the Scottish Government to align the Bank’s investment purposes with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which have international buy in from businesses, Governments and civil society.

“From big energy efficiency projects, innovations in renewables like floating wind, to investing in nature through programmes like peatland restoration or creating the forests of the future, there are many exciting opportunities for investments that will make Scotland’s future cleaner, greener and brighter for both people and wildlife.”

Common Weal Director Robin McAlpine said,

“Right across Europe the idea of making investments designed not to make the investor lots of money but to pursue the public good has become a mainstream issue. A few years ago national investment banks and green industrial policies were seen as fringe issues but are now at the heart of how people think we can tackle the serious social and environmental problems we face. This is Scotland’s chance to build an investment bank which works for the collective good and to fix some of the economic and environmental failures we so urgently need to address.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland Finance Campaigner Ric Lander said,

“Scotland urgently needs new sources of public investment that can fund the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a low-carbon economy. With the right remit, the Scottish National Investment Bank can fill this role, creating thousands of green jobs by transforming our transport, heating, housing and electricity. It can also remake our economy to benefit everyone with a governance model that represents Scotland’s regions, industrial sectors, civil society and trade unions, and reflects the genders, abilities and ethnic backgrounds of our country.

“After years of campaigning to reform the current broken banking system, we have seen a great response from folk wanting to participate in discussions about creating something new. There is strong support from people in Scotland for a bank that has a transformational role in our economy to serve the common good, instead of private greed.”

SCIAF Director Alistair Dutton said,

“SCIAF sees the huge impact global warming is having on vulnerable communities in developing countries every day. Families are struggling to grow enough food because of increasingly unpredictable weather and more frequent and severe storms, droughts and floods. Pope Francis has called for an ‘ecological conversion’ and urged richer, industrialised economies to move away from polluting fossil fuels towards cleaner alternatives. Creating the National Investment Bank is an opportunity to help Scotland create a low-carbon economy which protects workers’ livelihoods, create new industrial opportunities, and deliver a fairer and more equal Scotland.”

Nicola Sturgeon has appointed Benny Higgins, CEO of Tesco Bank, and an Advisory Group, to publish a set of proposals for the Bank in February 2018. (1)

Although some have voiced concerns about the role of the private financial sector in the development of the Bank, the draft remit of the Bank included progressive language. The consultation paper stated that the Scottish Government wants to “seize the economic opportunities of tackling climate change” and that the Bank will be purposed with “accelerating the transformation to a low carbon, high-tech, connected, globally competitive and inclusive economy.” (2)

The public consultation was open from 10th October to midnight on Monday 20th November 2017.


NOTES TO EDITORS

Scottish National Investment Bank Terms of Reference issued to Benny Higgins in September 2017:
https://beta.gov.scot/publications/national-investment-bank-implementation-plan-terms-of-reference/

Scottish National Investment Bank consultation paper:
https://consult.gov.scot/economic-policy-unit/scottish-national-investment-bank/supporting_documents/national%20investment%20bank.pdf

Friends of the Earth Scotland and Common Weal have worked on national investment banks for some years with a number of partners. Common Weal’s most recent report is: Blueprint for a Scottish National Investment Bank, download here:
http://allofusfirst.org/tasks/render/file/?fileID=3B9725EA-E444-5C6C-D28A3B3E27195B57

UN Sustainable Development Goals are a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. The Scottish Government adopted the SDGs in July 2015, making Scotland one of the first countries to commit to the Goals.

Friends of the Earth Scotland is Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation, campaigning for a just transition to a sustainable society.
Engender is Scotland’s feminist membership organisation, working for women’s economic, political and social equality with men.
www.engender.org.uk

RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, delivering successful conservation, forging powerful new partnerships with other organisations and inspiring others to stand up and give nature the home it deserves.
www.rspb.org.uk

Common Weal is a Scottish think-and-do tank that proposes ideas and policies that put all of us first. www.allofusfirst.org

UNISON is Britain’s and Europe’s biggest public sector union with more than 1.3 million members – around 150,000 of those in Scotland.
www.unison-scotland.org

SCIAF is the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland.
www.sciaf.org.uk