Dozens of Extinction Rebellion protestors have barricaded the entrance to Baillie Gifford’s Edinburgh offices to protest its investment in fossil fuels on behalf of the Scottish government.
Brandishing banners with slogans such as ‘Baillie Gifford profits from extinction’, protestors from the environmental group descended on the firm’s headquarters in an 11-hour demonstration on 14 January. They were protesting the fund group upping the Scottish Parliament’s pension investment in oil giant Shell.
When asked about the pension fund’s current position in Shell, a Baillie Gifford spokesperson told Portfolio Adviser it could not comment on individual client portfolio holdings.
But they said: “We take climate change seriously and are proud of being early investors in some of the world’s most progressive and innovative companies.
“Our focus is on long term growth investments for our clients which means our investment strategies are increasingly geared towards supporting a transition to a low carbon economy.”
The spokesperson added the asset manager believes in being part of the wider discussion on climate change and supporting companies on a journey to a more sustainable future.
“We are also committed to managing our own environmental impact and our goal is to set a positive example as an investor, an employer, and as a business in the places that we work,” they said.
Scottish Mortgage fund manager James Anderson has previously spoken passionately about climate change, stating the challenges it presents are so vast that the current model of post-Second World War capitalism will have to change.
The Edinburgh manager launched the Baillie Gifford Responsible Global Equity Income fund last April. In January 2017 it launched its first fund investing around responsible themes, Baillie Gifford Positive Change.