Highland Charter for Responsible Investment, a coalition of groups across the Highlands, is calling on the Highland Council Pension Fund to adopt a Charter for Responsible Investment at its next meeting on March 18th. Skye Climate Action has joined the coalition. See what you can do below.
According to a report by Highland-Palestine, Highland Council Pension Fund has nearly £2 billion of assets. The Highland scheme has about 31,600 members, including current and former employees of Highland Council, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, The University of the Highlands and Islands, Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Fire and Rescue, and more than twenty other organisations that, together, account for around one tenth of all employment in the Highland and Western Isles regions.
Despite Highland Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019, the pension fund holds £45 million of investments in fossil fuels.
Over the past three years Highland-Palestine has tried to persuade Highland Council Pension Fund to divest its £6.8 million shares in US arms company, General Dynamics, which manufactures and supplies weapons that have killed thousands of civilians in Gaza and Yemen.
What you can do: The coalition encourages people who are concerned about this to write to our local councillors (you can find their contact emails here) or to Councillor Richard Gale: firstname.lastname@example.org. The message can be very short and simple: ‘I wish to express my support for the Highland Charter for Responsible Investment. I look forward to hearing how your committee responds to the Charter’s recommendations.’
Or you can adapt this sample letter:
As one of your constituents, I want to draw your attention to the campaign for a Highland Charter for Responsible Investment. Nineteen local organisations have now expressed their support for the Charter, and I wish to add my personal support for the Charter’s recommendations.
You should have already received a copy of the Charter and the report outlining the case for adopting it. There is clear evidence in the report that the fund is failing to meet an acceptable standard of investment ethics. This is a considerable cause for concern, and I hope you will take the time to study what the report has to say on this important issue.
The Highland Council Pension Fund Committee and Board are due to meet on March 18th. Beforehand, please raise this matter on my behalf with Cllr Richard Gale, Chair of the committee. Please convey my support for the Charter and urge the pension fund to adopt the Charter’s recommendations in full.
I look forward to hearing what steps you have taken in response to this request.