Johnstone secures transparency pledge on public pensions

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, has secured a pledge from Finance Secretary John Swinney that Scotland’s largest public pension investments will be made more transparent so that local government employees can see whether their funds are invested in the fossil fuels contributing to climate change.

The “divestment” movement, which urges pension funds to withdraw from risky sectors such as coal, oil and gas has been gathering momentum.

Recently Glasgow University announced it will withdraw over £18million of investments from fossil fuel companies, citing the ‘devastating impact’ of climate change. AP2, one of the Sweden’s national pension funds, is divesting £80billion worth of assets. In a written reply to Alison Johnstone,

Finance Secretary and Deputy First Minister John Swinney says he has asked the Scottish Public Pensions Agency and the new local government pension scheme advisory board to “pursue enhanced transparency of investments.”

The Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme is the largest funded public pension scheme in Scotland, with over 200,000 active members, 96,000 deferred members and 167,000 pensioners and dependants.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“The science is clear, and the economics is clear. We cannot afford to burn all the fossil fuels we have access to if we’re serious about limiting the effects of climate change.

“I welcome the deputy first minister’s decision to encourage transparency, and I look forward to the Scottish local government pension scheme laying out where its investments lie. Those with a stake in these funds should have the facts so they can make the case for divestment from fossil fuels.”  

Alison has lodged a parliamentary motion on divestment