What do the members think?

Councils invest their pension funds on behalf of 505,000 members across Scotland. We asked some of them how they think their pensions should be invested.

“I spent most of my working life working for local authorities trying to support disabled people to lead fuller lives. I am very keen for the money I paid into my pension can be invested to benefit my community not harm it. Financially investing in fossil fuels does not look attractive as well as leading to further climate change so I would urge the pension fund I paid into to act on this.”

– Liz Duguid
Falkirk Pension Fund member

“I find it incredible that LGPS can justify five times more funding for fossil fuel industries than renewable energy in the 21st Century.  It is long overdue for an overhaul of policy and a more ethical approach to scheme investments.”

– Tom Howorth
Lothian Pension Fund member

A

“I bank and shop ethically but I don’t seem to have much choice when it comes to pensions currently. The Local Authorities need to rethink their commitment to climate change and if they are serious then they must divest, the fact that some haven’t even discussed it is quite unbelievable due to its prominence in the media, and the obvious effects it is already having on our weather systems never mind how it is affecting ecosystems and communities around the world.”

– Louise McCafferty
North East Pension Fund member

Fossil fuels have no place in pensions. It is ironic that, if carried out in full, the fossil fuel companies’ business plans will create a future World which is uninhabitable for humans, and certainly won’t be around to draw pensions. Fossil fuel shares are a bad investment – 80% of fossil fuel ‘assets’ let oil and gas ar unburnable if we want to stay below 2oc of global warming. These stranded assets are worthless, and means fossil fuel companies themselves are hugely over-valued. Fossil fuel companies are oil technology and grounded in a conservatism and greed that will end in disaster. What we need to do is invest in innovative, exciting new renewable energy and social projects that can provide similar returns for investors and pensions. This will secure well–paid jobs, allowing engineers and other fossil fuel roles to justly transition to Scottish-controlled, local, secure and reliable energy projects like tidal, wind and hydro power.  Let’s look forward, not back.”

– John Thorne
Strathclyde Pension Fund member

D

“As a member of the Strathclyde Pension Scheme for over 25 years, I am disappointed that our councils have been investing public money in fossil fuels to the detriment of the environment while others invest in the arms trade without recognition of the consequences this has on world peace and ensuring accountability for their actions. This has to stop if we are to create a sustainable future for our children.”

– John Young
Strathclyde Pension Fund member

“I am pretty shocked at the high percentages still invested in fossil fuels by local authority pension schemes. As a scheme member I am concerned at the increasing risk posed by fossil fuel investment in a rapidly changing world. I am also concerned that government, at all levels, is not doing more to meet our crucial commitments on climate change, and to ensure pension funds are fossil free seems a no brainer.  I’m pleased to see that three local authorities are setting an example with renewable energy investment.”

– Kirsty Noble
Strathclyde Pension Fund member

“I have been paying into my pension for 33 years and I am concerned that its viability is threatened by investments that won’t be worth anything when we stop burning so much oil, gas and coal, as we have to do to stop global warming. Divestment makes sense.”

– Stephen Smellie
Strathclyde Pension Fund member

B

“Joining the pension scheme is compulsory, where the money is invested is something that should be debated. What is the point in saving for a future that my pension money is helping to destroy? I want to, and believe I can invest in a future that invests in the planet. Profit before planet is just as immoral as profit before people.”

– Jude Ferguson
Lothian Pension Fund Member

“As a LGPS scheme member I am disappointed to see many of these schemes continue to invest in fossil fuel companies. If we are to meet world wide climate change targets its clear that these companies fossil fuel assets are stranded and are arguably worthless. This means the value of many of these companies are arguably exaggerated and I wish to see my pension scheme investing in companies that predominantly focus on sustainable renewable energy i.e. the future if they are to retain their value to my pension scheme.

“These scheme are worth billions of pounds and members should be urging them to become a force for good by investing much more in areas such as social housing. These such investments would be of benefit directly to many of the members both in terms of providing affordable homes but also providing continued local employment to many of the members involved in these building projects.

“Time to make these schemes work for members and future generations not only in terms of returns but in terms of their investment strategy.”

– James Corry
Strathclyde Pension Fund member

C

“The Scottish economy has benefited greatly from fossil fuels in the past (although it is debatable whether it has had a similar effect on the health of Scotland’s people). The clear links between fossil fuels and global warming and Scotland’s abundant potential for renewables must be acknowledged both by politicians and big public investors like the LGPS funds. Finding a way for funds to invest in a more sustainable future without abandoning their fiduciary duty should be an important consideration for all fund boards.”

– Arthur Nicoll
Strathclyde Pension Fund member

“As a member of the excellent Strathclyde Pension Fund, one of the largest in the UK, I am disappointed that more is not being done to divest from all fossil fuel companies. SPF should be redirecting a larger portion of funds towards more environmentally beneficial projects eg social housing, renewables.

“I would be pleased if SPF would follow the example set by Glasgow University and commit to divest completely from fossil fuel companies. This would be an opportune time as shares will no doubt rise due to the latest Climate Change denials from the USA!”

– Denny Walker
Strathclyde Pension Fund member

“Worrying to see that pension funds are heavily exposed to potential losses with fossil fuels and that there is still a high level of support for the sector. Good to see that some funds such as Strathclyde have started to invest in renewable sector and social housing and this should be encouraged.”

– Ian Doig
Strathclyde Pension Fund member

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