Over 25 Extinction Rebellion activists gathered outside Baillie Gifford premises on Greenside Row this morning.
They were protesting against the major investment firm’s management of the Scottish Parliament’s investment fund.
In particular they opposed speculation in ‘polluting and exploitative’ fossil fuel companies such as Shell, but were also keen to highlight investment in the global arms trade and production of nuclear weapons.
They demand Baillie Gifford ‘withdraw its financial support from companies profiting from the exploitation of the planet and instead maximise its investments in renewable energy and low carbon industries’.
MSPs have already called for ethical investment of the fund.
Baillie Gifford’s online summary of its shared beliefs HERE stresses that its actions must be ‘honourable and beneficial for our clients, for the companies we invest in and for society’. Spurtle finds no mention of climate change, environmental impacts, or weapons of mass destruction.
ELSEWHERE, however, the company argues it is already taking steps to improve the sustainability of its operations.
Outnumbered but determined
The protestors, of all ages, arrived shortly after 7.00am this morning to find Baillie Gifford’s office already surrounded by over 50 police officers.
Nevertheless, a few activists still managed to attach themselves to the building and/or each other.
The subsequent stand-off was peaceful and good-natured, at least during the time Spurtle observed shortly before 9.00am.
Passing commuters were handed flyers and engaged in conversation. Police seemed mostly concerned about maintaining clear passage along the pavement and the safety of distracted pedestrians crossing the road.
It is not clear how long the protest here will continue, and whether bolt cutters or bitter cold will bring it to an end first.
Today’s Edinburgh action is one of SEVERAL PROTESTS by Extinction Rebellion happening across Scotland at the moment. Other recent events have focused in Dundee and Stirling.