MSPs call for ‘sustainable investment’ in own pension fund
A cross-party group of MSPs are speaking out ahead of a meeting of pension fund trustees.
Holyrood politicians are campaigning for their pensions to come from “ethical investments” rather than the oil and gas industry.
A cross-party group of MSPs are pushing the issue, along with former local government minister Marco Biagi.
They spoke out ahead of a meeting of MSPs’ pension fund trustees, which will consider if they should continue investing in the fossil fuel industry.
The MSP pension fund currently invests at least £1 million in oil, gas and coal companies such as Shell, BHP and Rio Tinto, the environmental charity Friends of the Earth Scotland said.
But Labour’s Claudia Beamish argued making sustainable investments was “key” to Scotland becoming a net-zero economy.
This simple, practical step by MSPs would send a strong message that they are willing to bank on a greener Scotland that's fairer and healthier for people and planet Ric Lander, Friends of the Earth Scotland
She said: “We’re in the midst of a climate crisis, but investment in green jobs has plummeted in the UK and jobs in renewable energy are being lost overseas. This challenge needs an urgent response at all levels.
“The time has come for the Scottish Government and Parliament to begin ethical environmental investments for a sustainable future, for workers, communities, children, and grandchildren.”
Alison Johnstone of the Scottish Green Party stated: “Fossil fuels are fuelling the breakdown of our climate and have no future on a safe planet. As politicians we should be leading the way on the transformation of our economy into one that delivers prosperity without costing lives and destroying our precious environment.
“As MSPs we need to use our pension funds to back this change, and that means divesting from fossil fuels.”
If we have energy investments they should only be in renewables - it's both the responsible and the sensible choice Former local government minister Marco Biagi
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Alex-Cole Hamilton said: “The climate crisis is leading to rising sea levels, increased spread of disease, and extreme weather, threatening livelihoods around the world – and we cannot wait any longer to tackle it.
“We need strong, committed and cross-party action to move away from high-polluting fossil fuels and invest in renewable alternatives. I am therefore delighted to join my fellow MSPs in supporting the Divest Scotland pledge.”
Mr Biagi, a former SNP MSP, insisted that pensions “need to be funded through safe, long-term investments”.
And he insisted: “If we have energy investments they should only be in renewables – it’s both the responsible and the sensible choice.”
Ric Lander, divestment campaigner with Friends of the Earth Scotland, called on MSPs to put “their own house in order, divesting their own pension fund from fossil fuels and making a commitment to investing in a just transition to a zero-carbon economy”.
He added: “This simple, practical step by MSPs would send a strong message that they are willing to bank on a greener Scotland that’s fairer and healthier for people and planet.”
A Scottish Parliament spokesman said that the pension fund trustees were “in the process of reviewing the scheme investment strategy and will discuss it at their next meeting”.
He added: “This will include consideration of investments in fossil fuel companies. A final decision about the scheme investment strategy will be made in due course.”