The new local councillors have been elected on Thursday, but their position on different committees haven’t been assigned yet. Investment decisions of the Strathclyde Pension Fund will be in the hands of the eight councillors sitting on its committee, yet most councillors have yet to be made aware of the incredible power of decision that such position entails. Before these positions are assigned, we suggest that you send an email to your new local councillors to congratulate them of their victory and make them aware of this opportunity. and in order to make the Strathclyde Pension Fund divest. Getting some councillors that are friendly to divestment on the committee would be a great step towards taking our pensions off fossil fuels.
A list of your new local councillors can be found here. Because their positions are still unknown, the website writetothem.com haven’t been updated yet, and you might have to look for their emails online. But because they are public figures, a simple Google search will probably do.
Here is an email template that you can use:
Dear [candidate’s name],
Congratulations on your victory. I am a resident of [name of ward/street], and having voted for you, I am relieved that you got the position.
Now, before you meet with other city councillors to assign the different committee positions among yourselves, I would like to express my concern with the Strathclyde Pension Fund’s current investments in fossil fuels. I think it would be a great opportunity for both Glasgow and the world to have a responsible councillor like yourself putting themselves forward for a position on the pension fund committee.
Indeed, it was reported earlier last month that Scottish councils currently invest £1.7bn in oil, coal and gas companies. The Strathclyde Pension Fund—administered in large part by the Glasgow City Council—with its £890m in fossil fuels, already accounts for more than half of these investments.
As Scottish councils face more budget cuts, impairing their ability to guarantee some of the most basic services, it appears rather counter-intuitive that they would insist on maintaining their ties to an industry responsible for the spread of climate change denial, environmental destruction and human rights abuses around the world, when this resource could clearly be put to better use locally. Indeed, as some councils have started to do, these dirty investments could be re-channeled into activities beneficial to Scottish communities, such as sustainable housing and renewable energy projects. (You can see examples of that here)
As a Strathclyde Pension Fund trustee, you would have a say in how that money is invested. Having said that, would you consider taking a position on its committee so as to influence its choice of investments in a more ethical direction? Or if not you personally, perhaps you might want to share these concerns with another socially-responsible councillor who would?