Supreme Court rules on ethical investments

Britain Yearly Meeting has welcomed news that the Supreme Court has affirmed the right of local authorities to make ethical choices in their pension investments

Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has welcomed a ruling from the Supreme Court affirming the right of local authorities to make ethical choices in their pension investments.

The ruling on 29 April follows new government guidance published in 2016 banning local authorities in England and Wales from divesting from companies profiting from the UK defence industry, fossil fuel extraction, or military occupation. BYM said it publicly voiced concerns at the time and entered written submissions in support of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s legal case against the government’s guidance.

Oliver Robertson, head of witness and worship for BYM, said: ‘We’re pleased the Supreme Court has put an end to these efforts by the government to silence the ethical investment movement. We look forward to moving ahead with our many partners across the country and around the world on campaigns to end a range of unethical trades.’

He added that BYM will also ‘look closely at any proposals laid before parliament’. In December 2019 the government announced that it would proceed with plans for new legislation to criminalise local authority policies which boycott, sanction or divest from foreign countries and those trading with them.

Oliver Robertson said Quakers would ‘continue to work with others to challenge any attempts to clamp down on the democratic right of organisations and individuals to use nonviolent tools such as ethical investment to realise positive change in our world’.

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