Pension fund arms and nuclear investment call

Inverclyde councillors have called on one of the country’s largest pension funds to commit to ethical investments.

They’ve called on The Strathclyde Pension Fund to stop investing in arms manufacturing and to set out clear policies and targets for other areas of environment, social and governance issues.

Provost Brennan, who chairs the council meeting, said: “With the spending power of the Strathclyde Pension Fund it is important that while return on investment is important to its future, it should use that spending power to promote ethical investing.”

The motion put to the council meeting was proposed by Councillor Jim McEleny, having previously incorporated additional wording in support by Councillor Colin Jackson.

He said: “The Strathclyde Pension Fund is known to hold shares in 11 of the world’s 20 biggest arms manufacturers, including some involved in the production or maintenance of nuclear weapons or their delivery systems. 

“Any investments in nuclear weapons producers are at odds with the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).              

“The motion agreed by the council calls on the Strathclyde Pension Fund to work towards eliminating current and future financial exposure to companies that are involved in arms manufacturing, giving  due regard to fiduciary duty.”  

The motion, agreed by the council calls on Strathclyde Pension Fund:    

(1) to adopt a statement of investment principles that explicitly set out the pension fund position on key Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) issues including climate change, human trafficking, child labour, the arms industry, tax avoidance and workers’ rights;       

(2) to systematically assess the risks associated with their investments concerning ESG policies;               

(3) to set targets for positive, responsible investment in specific sectors, including low-carbon infrastructure, housing and low emission transport.”

The Strathclyde Pension Fund has over 250,000 members and £20bn of investments.  It is one of the biggest local government pension scheme funds and one of the top 20 UK pension funds.