SPF Engagement Strategy: Not Enough to Solve Climate Crisis

Written by Zivile Mantrimaite, climate justice campaigner

On August 31, 2015, Strathclyde Pension Fund committee rejected Glasgow City Council’s proposed resolution on fund’s divestment from fossil fuel industries. The feasibility of such act was reviewed and dismissed on grounds of engagement, stating that active engagement with fossil fuel companies will address the subject of climate change in more efficient way. Corresponding to this, Fossil Free Strathclyde campaigners have released Report on Engagement Limitations When Tackling the Systemic Issue of the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Connection to Climate Change: Case Study for Strathclyde Pension Funddemonstrating that engagement is ineffective as a solution to limit the impacts of climate change and comply with recently internationally agreed climate targets.  

We summarize our key findings below and advise the Strathclyde Pension Fund committee to review its engagement strategy and re-consider divestment option in order to truly battle the climate change.

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Uncover: Rio Tinto and Grasberg Mine

By Callum Shaw, Economic and Social History Student

On 9th September, 2008, the Norwegian Pension Fund divested $1 billion of its holdings from the mining giant Rio Tinto. The reasoning behind this was Rio Tinto’s ‘grossly unethical conduct’, with a particular focus on the controversial Grasberg mine in West Papua, New Guinea, co-owned by the US company Freeport-McMoRan. The last eight years have seen little improvement when dealing with the social and environmental damages that the mine creates, however the SPF continues its multi-million pound investment into it.

Since the invasion in 1962, West Papua has been under strict control by the Indonesian government. It has not been a peaceful occupation with the highest estimates of civilian deaths at over 500,000 during the period. The referendum which gave the authority to the Indonesian government was a charade. It consisted of just 1% of the population, forced to vote at gun point. Since then, there has been a constant local struggle, firstly to internationally recognise their plight and finally, to reclaim a free West Papua. The demonstrations have but for a few, been met with uncompromising brutality. Number of arrests at demonstrations has been rising and torture of locals is still practised commonly. Between April 2013 to December 2014 country saw extra-judicial killings by the security forces, including protest on 8th of December 2014 with 4 students shot and killed and 17 more injured.

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