Open Letter

 

 

Strathclyde Pension Fund – one of the largest pension funds in the UK – continues to invest in some of the biggest climate polluters in the world. In a time of climate crisis this cannot be justified environmentally or economically.

So we have now launched a new Open Letter which we are inviting everyone to sign – individuals and organisations, whether members of the Fund or not.

 

The key demands are that the Strathclyde Pension Fund:

 

1. Commit to divest fully from fossil fuels and fracking companies by 2026, and all other polluting industries by 2040;

2. Announce this commitment before COP26 is due to come to Glasgow; and 

 

3. Begin the process immediately.

 

Join us in calling on the Pension Committee to commit to a divestment plan before COP26. Sign up to our Open Letter below and please share with friends, family, colleagues and networks. 

 

We’ve also developed a TOOLKIT to help you, with suggested tweets, template letters, and more. 

 

 

Open letter to Strathclyde Pension Fund – divest from fossil fuels

diveststrathclyde@gmail.com

Amended 7 May 2021

We, the undersigned, call on the Strathclyde Pension Fund to:

1. Commit to divest fully from fossil fuels and fracking companies by 2026, and all other polluting industries by 2040
2. Announce this commitment before COP26 is due to come to Glasgow, and
3. Begin the process immediately.

We are deeply concerned about the Fund’s continued investment (over £508 million last year) in fossil fuels and fracking [1] and fear for the safety of worker’s pensions if it remains invested in fossil fuels.

Climate leaders do not invest in fossil fuels

Glasgow City Council declared a climate emergency in May 2019, closely followed by West Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Councils [2].
As the largest pension fund in Glasgow and the second largest local authority pension fund in the UK, we believe it is vital that the Fund also shows climate leadership through an ambitious divestment target and strategy.
‘Divestment isn’t new – the Fund long ago made a commitment not to invest in tobacco companies, and fossil fuel industries are the equivalent for these times.’ Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council (April 2021)
You would be joining an ever-growing divestment movement – six local government pension funds in the UK [3] and over half of Scottish universities (all with the same fiduciary duties) have already made the decision to divest and have not looked back.

Financial risks

Fossil fuel investments are losing money (£194 million in Scotland between 2017 and 2020, during which time the Fund’s value dropped £46 million) [4] and are consistently being outperformed by renewables.
We applaud the Fund’s commitment of £352 million to renewable energy infrastructure investments [5], and urge the Fund to use divestment from fossil fuels as a means to increase investment in renewables and other climate-friendly projects.

Reputational risks

It is deeply unfair to use pension holders’ money to financially support companies that profit at the expense of ecological destruction, when more responsible investment opportunities are easily available.
Divestment from the fossil fuel sector would prevent further reputational harm and allow workers to make their contributions in good conscience.

Engagement will not work

Despite a slew of net-zero commitments, the fossil fuel majors’ business plans demonstrate a clear intention to retain fossil fuels as their core business over the crucial coming decades and there is no evidence that the Fund’s engagement activities will achieve the type of impact necessary to decarbonise its investments [6].

Towards a fossil free pension fund

Moving towards a fossil free future is inevitable especially given that the pace of climate breakdown is exceeding expectations. Now is not the time to remain passive. Instead decisive action is needed to protect our long-term financial interests and our right to live in a world that is worth living in.
We do not want local government pension fund money to be directly fuelling the climate crisis and causing horrendous impacts around the world and we therefore urge the Fund to join the growing list of climate leading pension funds by committing to full divestment by 2026 ahead of COP26.

For answers on FAQs about divestment visit the following site – https://tinyurl.com/DivestFAQs

[1]Glasgow councillors back campaign to end fossil fuel investment, Glasgow Times, March 2020
[2] Declare A Climate Emergency
[3] Divesting to protect our pensions and the planet, UK DIvest, 2021
[4]Scottish Councils lose £194 million as fossil fuel stocks tumble, Friends of the Earth Scotland, December 2020
[5]Strathclyde Pension Fund annual report & Financial Statements, Strathclyde Pension Fund, Strathclyde Pension Fund 2020
[6]Big Oil Reality Check, Oil Change International, 2020

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