Rig Rebellion 2.0: Baillie Gifford

  • Extinction Rebellion Scotland protest Edinburgh-based fund manager Baillie Gifford, who have increased MSP pension fund investment in Shell, to demand divestment
  • MSPs and Baillie Gifford must ‘put their money where their mouth is’ and drop pension fund investment in Shell

This morning at 7.30am, Extinction Rebellion Scotland blocked the entrances to the City of Edinburgh offices of Baillie Gifford on Leith Street and have established a hard picket.

Baillie Gifford is the Edinburgh-based fund manager which manages Holyrood’s pension fund and has increased MSPs investment in Shell in the face of the climate and ecological crisis driven by fossil fuels. 

This action is part of Rig Rebellion 2.0, a two week long campaign by XR Scotland targeting the fossil fuel industry and the institutions which prop it up, demanding a just transition lead by a legally binding citizens’ assembly. 

Some of the protestors are locked-on and intend to stay there all day. They have banners reading ‘MSPs Pensions Invested in Ecocide’ and ‘Baillie Gifford Profits From Extinction’. 

As Mark Carney, outgoing head of the Bank of England, said last month “according to leading pension fund analysis, if you add up the policies of all of companies out there, they are consistent with warming of 3.7-3.8C. We are currently experiencing a warming of 1C. To continue to invest in fossil fuels is clearly ludicrous. 

But, even as the Scottish Government declared a climate emergency and claimed leadership in tackling the climate crisis last year, Baillie Gifford increased MSPs investment in fossil fuel company Shell from £360,000 to £430,000.

John Hardy, 36, campaigns officer, Edinburgh; “Pensions are supposed to be about the future, but there will be no future if we keep investing in fossil fuels. Our representatives and those who work on their behalf need to show leadership on the Climate Emergency by removing all support for the fossil industry which threatens us all. 
I have been campaigning for divestment of parliamentary pension funds for a number of years and I know that our politicians recognise the need to tackle climate breakdown, but we can’t wait any longer for them to take action. They need to divest now.”

Shell is set to increase production by 35% over the next 10 years. By investing in companies who are actively increasing production of fossil fuels in the face of a climate emergency, destroy ecosystems, and have proven records of human rights abuses, the Scottish Government is complicit in locking us into catastrophic climate change. This is unacceptable. Our parliament which claims to be a world leader on climate change should be leading by example, divesting from carbon-intensive and extractive industries and using their pension fund to help a transition to a low-carbon economy.

Marco, 24 from Edinburgh commented; “Destroying ecosystems is profitable. Burning fossil fuels is profitable. Financial institutions like Baillie Gifford have been very effective at convincing the public that ‘there is no alternative’, that our economies cannot function without these industries and that continued investment in them is therefore legitimate. The truth is that these industries are the single biggest threat to life on Earth, and a small number of people are getting incredibly wealthy propping them up and speculating on the future of our planet.”

We have three demands for the Scottish Government;

1. Tell the truth about the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving the climate crisis.

2. Act now to stop supporting the industry, wrap it up and move away from it while protecting those who rely on it 

3. Trust ourselves in a legally binding citizens assembly; we want workers, communities and the people of Scotland to make the decisions on how this just transition happens. 

Rig Rebellion 2.0 began last week when three women scaled a rig leased to Shell in Dundee Harbour, delaying it from leaving. It was due to leave for the North Sea to begin brand new drilling for the fossil fuel liquified natural gas. The original Rig Rebellion took place in March last year when activists disrupted and delayed the Scottish Oil Club’s annual dinner at the National Museum of Scotland.

More actions will be taking place this week around Scotland.

About Extinction Rebellion Scotland

Extinction Rebellion Scotland is a non-violent direct-action movement formed to take urgent action in the face of climate emergency and ecological catastrophe, as part of the global justice movement.

Our demands, issued as a Declaration of Rebellion to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government on 24 November 2018, are as follows:

  1. That the Scottish government tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, acknowledge and reverse any policies that help drive the climate crisis, and commit to enabling a rapid and just transition to a sustainable and fair society.
  2. That the Scottish government enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, including by replacing a system based on accelerating consumption with one based on ensuring the well-being of all.
  3. The creation of a Scottish Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose and a society that cares for all.

Read more about Extinction Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth