Scottish councils invest £406 million of pension funds in companies fracking overseas, according to a new report by environmental campaigners.
Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoE), which carried out the research, is calling for all local authorities to stop investing in fossil fuel businesses to avoid what it says are the “financial risks associated with being invested in irresponsible companies.”
The investments are held through the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme, which provides pensions for local government and associated workers. The funds are managed by councillors through council pensions committees.
FoE say their research shows that out of all Scotland’s local authorities, only Shetland’s council pension fund, which is not invested in any company stocks, does not invest directly in fracking firms.
FoE fracking and divestment campaigner Flick Monk said: “Our local government pension funds should be investing for the long-term, not undermining our future by gambling on the industries driving global climate change.
“By choosing clean fossil-free investments, Scotland’s councils can back the green economy, secure a good return for fund members and help tackle climate change.”
The call was backed by Dave Watson, Scotland organiser for the Unison union.
He said: “Using pension funds to invest in fracking is wrong on environmental and safety grounds.
“It is also a risky investment given doubts about the financial viability of fracking. Councils should be living up to their climate change obligations, investing in clean energy solutions, not more fossil fuels.”