MP’s Pension Fund Investments

I agree that pension funds – especially those which manage public money – should always seek to invest ethically. The regulation of most public procurement and public pension schemes is devolved to the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government regulations on local authority public procurement have taken a considerate approach to this matter, with due regard given to the need for prudent financial investments as well as valid social, environmental and ethical considerations.

In respect of the MPs’ Contributory Pension Scheme, whilst I agree that some degree of transparency is required as to the investment of public funds, I do not believe that divestment from oil and gas companies would have the desired effect of this campaign in terms of encouraging a transition to a low carbon economy. In many cases, oil and gas companies are substantial investors in renewable technologies. Indeed in the last 6 months, Total recently announced its intention to invest $500 million annually in renewable technologies, and the Norwegian state energy firm Statoil has announced a $200 million fund for renewables projects such as their involvement in the development of the world’s largest floating windfarm off the coast of Scotland. Companies should be encouraged to continue to make investments such as these that will ease the transition to a low carbon economy.
The SNP Scottish Government has also taken some very ambitious action on climate change. Scotland is a world-leader in tackling climate change and, as of 2014, we have delivered a 45.8% reduction in emissions from baseline levels. In response to the increased global ambition in the Paris Agreement, the Scottish Government will be consulting on a new Climate Change Bill next year. Ahead of new legislation, the focus on delivering emissions reductions remains unwavering. This strong action to tackle climate change stands in stark contrast to the UK Government who have severely damaged the renewable energy sector with cuts, and most recently abolished the government department charged with taking forward action on climate change.