£2 billion from council pension funds in Scotland is invested in fossil fuel companies. This staggering figure includes investments in many of the world’s worst polluters, such as Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Equinor, which is currently planning to develop the Rosebank oil field. In fact, 96% of all oil and gas companies are planning to expand their fossil fuel operations.

We worked with our colleagues at Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland and Platform to uncover the investments of council pension funds across the UK. The analysis covers data taken from the 2021/22 financial year and was acquired through freedom of information requests.

Councils must play their part in protecting the long-term future of their employees but a number of them are having their attempts to do this blocked by the pension fund managers.

Our research has found that the biggest fossil fuel investor of the council pension funds in Scotland is Strathclyde Pension Fund. It is administered by Glasgow City Council and was found to have invested at least £618 million in fossil fuel companies.
Glasgow City Council voted to divest from fossil fuels in April 2021, yet the Strathclyde Pension Fund which manages the money has still not enacted this change. Other councils in the region have also voted in favour of divestment.
The Lothian Pension Fund, administered by Edinburgh City Council, has at least £350 million invested in fossil fuels. Its councillors also voted in favour of divestment in November 2022, but the fund managers have not taken action to do so.
It’s unbelievable that despite clear direction from councillors, the biggest council pension funds in Scotland are still investing this obscene amount of money in fossil fuel companies that are driving climate breakdown.
The money moved away from fossil fuels could instead be invested in ways that support local communities and protect the planet for everyone, like renewable energy. As skyrocketing energy bills are plunging millions of people into fuel poverty, this energy transition is more important than ever.
Across the UK, £16 billion of council pension funds is invested in the fossil fuel industry. Over 20% of UK councils now invest less than 1% of their fund into fossil fuels – a 10 fold increase since 2020, the last time analysis was conducted. Pension funds in Scotland still invest over 3% into fossil fuels.