FRESH calls for East Lothian Council to put pressure on its pension fund operators to withdraw investment from fossil fuel firms are being made.

The local authority, which launched its own climate strategy two years ago, has been accused of double standards as it strives for zero-carbon emissions while Lothian Pension Fund invests millions in carbon-heavy companies.

Now the Scottish Greens are urging the council to use its influence to persuade the pension fund, which oversees pensions for all Lothian local authorities, to change its investment policies.

A Friends of the Earth survey last month revealed that the pension fund had £165million invested in fossil fuel companies.

The pension fund itself announced last year that it would work with companies it had shares with which were not carbon efficient to “influence engagement activity”.

However, it stopped short of divesting from the firms, referring to other investors which did this as greenwashing their portfolios.

READ MORE: Council's climate double standards

It said: “We note that carbon-equivalent footprinting produces a simple metric,

which can be misinterpreted.

“It encourages selective divestment of the shares of high-emission companies as some investors ‘greenwash’ their portfolios.

“Rather than divesting, we encourage our managers to incorporate an analysis of carbon output into their risk assessment of individual companies and their stocks.

“In addition, we actively engage with companies to align their business strategies with the targets of the Paris Agreement.

“Where analysis of carbon risk (or any other risk) points to poor financial

outcomes, share divestment is, of course, an option.”

Laura Moodie, the Scottish Greens’ lead candidate for South Scotland in the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections, said East Lothian Council needed to put pressure on the fund to do more.

She said: “The public don’t want to see these pension funds exacerbating the climate crisis, particularly when this cash could be invested into socially responsible endeavours like green energy production, house building and public transport improvements.

“This year, the world will come to Scotland when Glasgow hosts the UN climate change summit.

“It’s time for Scotland to take a lead in tackling the climate crisis, and one of the most straightforward ways we can begin to do that is by ending these public investments in big oil and gas.

“East Lothian Council must show that it is serious about tackling the climate emergency by bringing its influence to bear and ending these obscene oil and gas investments.”