Campaigners look forward to “festival of divestment” as council elections approach

Nathanael Williams

Campaigners urge people to rise up with event against councils as unethical investments are exposed 

A ONE NIGHT “FESTIVAL OF DIVESTMENT” tackling the investments of local councils in polluters has been hailed by environmental campaigners as a way for people to find out what their local authorities are up to and learn about more ethical ways of investing public funds.

Taking place April 27 at 7pm, the event organised by Common Weal and Friends of the Earth Scotland will feature films, poetry, music, art and social media training.

Campaigners hope to alert people to the way in which local councils fund pensions and services through unethical investments, putting people’s lives and the climate at risk.

Event- Divest Glasgow from climate chaos! Short films and action 

Mathieu Munsch, a Fossil Free Strathclyde campaigner, said: “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.

“Our councillors, however, have the power to affect the investment decisions of local government pension funds. It is important that we hold them accountable.

“Glasgow Council invests £890m in fossil fuels. Instead, we need investment in projects that are environmentally and socially just, and with local elections in early May now’s the perfect time to demand this change.”

Scottish Pension funds hold a £1.7bn stake in fossil fuel companies which drive up carbon emissions. But the campaigners organising the event say that money could be re-invested into green energy and housing while still securing solid financial returns.

Yet only three councils across the country were found to be actively investing in socially and environmentally beneficial projects. The Strathclyde, Falkirk and Lothian Pension funds invest a combined £234m in renewable energy and social housing. Though encouraging to campaigners, this represents just 0.7 per cent of the Scotland-wide scheme’s value.

Environmentalists are urging anyone who attends or who can’t attend but wants to help to mobilise and support the campaign to divest from unethical investment all across Scotland.

Picture courtesy of Friends of the Earth Scotland

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