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Companies face protest

Climate change demonstrators target Baillie Gifford

Protestors outside Baillie Gifford offices in Edinburgh (pic: Terry Murden)

Extinction Rebellion activists are staging their latest protests in Edinburgh today with asset manager Baillie Gifford among the companies being targeted.

The environmental group has launched a two-week campaign to draw attention to the role the fossil fuel industry is having on the current climate emergency.

Members of the group gathered early today outside the Scottish National Gallery in Princes Street with supporters asked to wear “suits”.

A Facebook post read: “With the beginning of the new year and new decade, our resistance and collective defiance to the toxic system destroying people and planet needs to grow stronger.

“Parliamentary politics cannot be the answer, only people in the streets will bring about the radical change needed to transform our society and avoid catastrophic climate and ecological collapse.

“That’s why we’re planning to start the year by taking our voices and bodies to those funding and profiting from the fossil fuel industry. After a year of rebellion: it’s time to level up.

“We are cooking up a number of actions across Scotland, and an action is planned in Edinburgh for the 14 January.”

A small number of banner-waving protestors gathered alongside a heavy police presence outside the offices of asset manager Baillie Gifford in Leith Street. Police taped up the entrance to the offices to prevent any of the demonstrators from entering.

According to Extinction Rebellion, despite the Scottish Government declaring a climate emergency, Baillie Gifford increased MSPs’ pension fund investment in Shell from £360,000 to £430,000.

A Baillie Gifford spokesman said: “We cannot comment on individual client portfolio holdings.

“We take climate change seriously and are proud of being early investors in some of the world’s most progressive and innovative companies.

Our goal is to set a positive example as an investor, an employer, and as a business in the places that we work

– Baillie Gifford spokesman

“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.

“We believe in being part of this conversation and supporting companies on this journey towards a 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.”

Extinction Rebellion last year blocked North Bridge when there were 29 arrests.

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