SOUTH Lanarkshire Council has passed a motion calling on Scotland’s largest local authority pension fund to divest from fossil fuels.

The motion, tabled by South Lanarkshire’s first Green councillor Kirsten Robb, commits the council to writing to the Strathclyde Pension Fund Committee to call for it to renew its commitment to fossil fuel divestment “with the intention of divesting from fossil fuel investments completely as quickly as possible, and no later than 2029.”

Last year an assessment of local government pension investment into fossil fuels undertaken by Friends of the Earth Scotland estimated that the Strathclyde Pension Fund’s investment stood at around £836 million.

A separate investigation by The Ferret – which valued the fund’s investments in fossil fuels at £508m – found that it was the second biggest funder of fossil fuel firms among local government pension funds in the whole of the UK, behind only Greater Manchester.

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The motion calls on the fund to “develop, in conjunction with the trade unions, a meaningful consultation mechanism with Fund members and that employers, such as South Lanarkshire Council, are consulted on the Fund’s investment strategies and divestment policy.”

It also requires the council to review its own investment strategy and implement a Responsible Investment Strategy “to ensure that South Lanarkshire money is invested for positive change and does not fuel the climate and ecological crises.”

Divestment is the act of getting rid of stocks, bonds or investment funds, which has most commonly been used in recent years by organisations seeking to end investment into the fossil fuel industry.

Sally Clark, divestment campaigner with Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It's really great to hear that South Lanarkshire councillors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of ending the council's pension fund investments in fossil fuel companies, and to instead invest in ethical alternatives that will benefit communities.

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“We now need Strathclyde Pension Fund to listen to the councillors from South Lanarkshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire who are all calling on the fund to remove its £836m investment from climate-wrecking fossil fuels.”

The Strathclyde Pension Fund has over 250,000 members in Glasgow and the West of Scotland and is run by Glasgow City Council.

In September last year the committee that oversees the fund formally approved a strategy of fossil fuel divestment.

However, earlier this month Friends of the Earth Scotland accused the fund of backtracking on its promises after it failed to sell a single fossil fuel investment and continued to keep fossil fuel giants like Shell and BP on its books.