Councils taken to task for fossil fuel holdings
PENSIONS: Dundee and Fife funds have no investments in renewables
“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.”