3A.3 Councils can pass a resolution supporting divestment

Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland and Nuclear Free Local Authorities UK have created a model resolution on nuclear weapons divestment:

“Model resolution encouraging Council Pension Funds to divest from
companies involved in the production, maintenance or development of
nuclear weapons in the UK or other Nuclear Weapon States

  • [If applicable: Council is a member of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and / or Mayors for Peace, the national / international body of Councils working for almost 4 decades to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament and a more peaceful world. Council passed [name of resolution] on [date] calling on the UK government to cancel Trident replacement plans and support the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).]
  • [Name of pension fund] manages the pension contributions of Council employees. [Name of pension fund] is known to hold shares in companies that are involved in the production or maintenance of nuclear weapons or their delivery systems, [if applicable] including some that undertake work on the UK’s nuclear weapons programme.
  • [If applicable: Any investments in nuclear weapons producers are at odds with Council’s support for the TPNW and Council’s opposition to Trident renewal.] Such investments [also] present a growing risk to [name of 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 [name of pension fund] to:
  1. 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.
  2. Council asks the Chief Executive to write to the convenor of [name of pension fund]’s pensions committee to urge them to take full consideration of this resolution.”

In May 2019, Renfrewshire became the first council in the UK to pass this resolution, calling on Strathclyde Pension Fund to divest from nuclear weapons. Soon after, West Dunbartonshire passed a resolution that calls on the fund to divest from nuclear weapons and fossil fuels. In June, Midlothian Council passed a resolution calling on Lothian Pension Fund to divest.

Council resolutions do not bind local government pension funds but they are an important statement of support for nuclear weapons divestment from councillors, who are fund members. The more councils that adopt resolutions, the greater the pressure will be on funds to divest.