The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes the passing of a resolution by Renfrewshire Council that urges divestment from the Strathclyde Pension Fund of its substantial investments in companies involved in the construction and development of nuclear weapon. (1)
The resolution was passed last Thursday 9th May and is one of the first such resolutions that specifically calls on Council pension funds to take on board the ethical concerns of possessing investments in companies involved in developing nuclear weapons. It follows on from a December 2018 resolution made by Renfrewshire Council to support the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) Cities Appeal.
The resolution was devised with assistance from the ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland’ Network that is involved in a global movement to encourage banks and financiers to stop providing funds to companies that are involved in developing nuclear weapons, as well as also lobbying Council, Parliamentary, University and other public bodies to divest from investments in such companies.
The latest report on this issue by ICAN and PAX Netherlands calculates that Governments possessing nuclear weapons are contracting at least US$ 116 billion (€102 billion / £88 billion) to private companies in France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States for production, development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. State owned companies in China connected to nuclear weapon production are also starting to raise money through bond issuances, while Israeli, Pakistani, North Korean, and Russian nuclear programmes are still not transparent in such activity. (2)
The ICAN Cities Appeal has now been formally supported by a number of influential global towns, cities and county councils including Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Manchester, Washington DC, Berlin, Geneva, Sydney, Toronto, Oslo and Zaragoza. (3) At the NFLA meeting it was confirmed that a number of its other influential members were in the process of passing resolutions shortly.
These two issues were part of a wide-ranging NFLA Scotland seminar in Dundee City Chambers which also considered the development of Local Authority energy plans, a case study on such plans and the issues within the ‘Just Transition’ movement of encouraging transferring staff and skills into the renewables energy sector, as well as the challenges of the wider divestment movement. (4)
- NFLA Scotland Policy Advisor Pete Roche noted that over 90 Councils in the UK and Ireland have passed ‘climate emergency’ resolutions and he launched the NFLA’s report on how Councils can put in place definitive plans for delivering on such ‘zero carbon’ promises. (5)
- Dundee City Council’s Sustainable Energy Manager Bryan Harris highlighted its award-winning ‘Sustainable Dundee’ low carbon policy approach as an exemplar of best practice.
- Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Matthew Crighton highlighted the positive work being undertaken in the ‘Just Transition Scotland’ and ‘Divest Scotland’ movements to promote sustainable green jobs.
- NFLA Secretary Sean Morris, NFLA Scotland Vice Convener Councillor Audrey Doig and Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland’s Linda Pearson provided an overview of the ICAN Cities Appeal and the campaign to divest the over £293 million invested in nuclear weapon companies by Scottish Council Pension Funds.
The Renfrewshire resolution and the NFLA’s informative report on Local Authority low carbon actions are being sent to member and non-member Councils across the country advocating they pass similar resolutions and use the information to develop their own strategies promoting long-term and effective low carbon strategies.
NFLA Scotland Vice-Convener and Renfrewshire Councillor, Councillor Audrey Doig said:
“I am delighted that Renfrewshire Council has passed a detailed resolution on nuclear weapons divestment following on from our formal support for the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty, both of which I put forward to the Council. In what is a dangerous and unstable world, it is really important that Councils stand up for doing things differently and encourage multilateral nuclear disarmament and divestment from companies involved in developing the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. By such actions we help to solve the ‘nuclear emergency’. The NFLA Scotland seminar also showed how seriously our members take the parallel ‘climate emergency’ and I urge councillors and council officers to read our highly informative report on the next steps for radical action to reduce carbon emissions over the next couple of decades. In both areas of policy, time is not on our side, so it is important that local government advocates for this progressive way forward in delivering a low carbon and ultimately safer world.”
Linda Pearson from Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland said:
“We applaud Renfrewshire Council for passing this important resolution in support of nuclear weapons divestment, which is the first of its kind in the UK. Our research shows that Strathcylde Pension Fund currently owns shares worth over £100 million in 13 nuclear weapons producers including a number relating to the Trident nuclear weapons programme Renfrewshire’s resolution sends a clear message that it is wrong to profit from weapons of mass destruction. We hope that the fund will now act on the resolution and work towards eliminating nuclear weapons producers from its portfolio. With nuclear tensions at their highest since the Cold War, there is an urgent need for all Scottish banks and pension funds to stop supporting the companies that make nuclear weapons. Renfrewshire has set an example for other councils to follow and we look forward to working with them on this issue.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
- The Renfrewshire Council resolution passed on the 9th May is as follows:
- Renfrewshire Council is a member of NFLA and the Mayors for Peace, the global international body of Councils working for over 3 decades to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament and a more peaceful world. The Council has already passed a resolution on the 13h December 2018 calling on the UK government to cancel Trident replacement plans and support the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
- Strathcylde Pension Fund manages the pension contributions of Renfrewshire Council employees. Strathclyde Pension Fund is known to hold shares in companies that are involved in the production or maintenance of nuclear weapons or their delivery systems, including some that undertake work on the UK’s nuclear weapons programme.
- Any investments in nuclear weapons producers are at odds with the Council’s support for the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and the Council’s opposition to Trident renewal. Such investments also present a growing risk to Strathclyde Pension Fund. The TPNW has increased the stigma associated with nuclear weapons and companies which continue to produce nuclear weapons after the treaty enters into force will face damage to their reputation which could affect their value.
- Council calls on Strathclyde Pension Fund to:
- Work towards eliminating current and future financial exposure to companies that are involved in the production or maintenance of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, giving due regard to fiduciary duty.
- Council asks the Chief Executive to write to the convenor of Strathclyde Pension Fund’s pension committee to urge them to take full consideration of this resolution.
(2) ICAN / PAX Netherlands, ‘Producing mass destruction – private companies and the nuclear weapons industry’, May 2019
(3) ICAN Cities Appeal homepage –
(4) The presentations from the NFLA Scotland Forum seminar in Dundee City Chambers can be found at –
(5) NFLA Policy Briefing 187, ‘The Climate Emergency and the practicalities in Local Authority Action to go Carbon Neutral’, 7th May 2019