Coun­cils taken to task for fos­sil fuel hold­ings

PEN­SIONS: Dundee and Fife funds have no in­vest­ments in re­new­ables

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - Ciaran sned­don cisned­don@the­

“We are com­mit­ted to a bal­ance be­tween max­imis­ing in­vest­ment in­come and eth­i­cal in­vest­ment. KEITH O’DON­NELL FIFE COUN­CIL HEAD OF FI­NANCE

Dundee and Fife coun­cils have been crit­i­cised for in­vest­ing more than £200 mil­lion of pen­sion funds in fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies.

Dundee has com­mit­ted £131m to the oil, gas and coal in­dus­tries, and avoided any in­vest­ment in re­new­able en­ergy al­ter­na­tives.

A new report shows the Tay­side Pen­sion Fund, which is ad­min­is­tered by the city coun­cil, has heav­ily in­vested in BP and BHP Bil­li­ton.

In com­par­i­son, the Fife Coun­cil Pen­sion Fund has made in­vest­ments of £89.6m in fos­sil fu­els.

Report au­thor Ric Lan­der, di­vest­ment cam­paigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said coun­cils should be chang­ing the fo­cus of their in­vest­ments.

The Tay­side Pen­sion Fund cur­rently in­vests £3.3m in BP, £6.1m in BHP Bil­li­ton and £37.9m in Shell.

The report, pub­lished by Com­mon Weal, Uni­son Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland, also showed Tay­side was not in­vest­ing any­thing in re­new­able en­ergy or so­cial hous­ing projects in Scotland.

Else­where in the UK, five lo­cal coun­cil pen­sion funds have com­mit­ted to cut their fos­sil fuel in­vest­ments, but no such com­mit­ments have been made in Scotland.

A Dundee City Coun­cil spokesman high­lighted re­ports from coun­cil meet­ings held last year out­lin­ing their poli­cies sur­round­ing fos­sil fuel in­vest­ments, which in­clude an en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial and cor­po­rate gov­er­nance pol­icy re­quir­ing all ac­tive in­vest­ment man­agers are sig­na­to­ries to the United Na­tions Prin­ci­ples of Re­spon­si­ble In­vest­ment and en­gages in­de­pen­dent gov­er­nance and share­holder ad­vi­sory ser­vices.

Keith O’Don­nell, head of fi­nance at Fife Coun­cil, said: “We are com­mit­ted to a bal­ance be­tween max­imis­ing in­vest­ment in­come and eth­i­cal in­vest­ment which is why we em­ploy Her­mes Eq­uity Own­er­ship Ser­vices.”

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