Minister for investment Gerry Grimstone, who will chair the council, said it is part of the UK’s post-COVID-19 recovery plan and it “will deliver the expertise of influential global investors right to the heart of government”.
Grimstone is a former chairman of Barclays which, since his departure, has been criticised for increasing its support for fossil fuel companies despite announcing that it would target net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Council members also include the airplane giant, Airbus. Planes sold by the company in 2019 and 2020 will produce more than one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide during their lifetimes, according to recently released estimates.
Aviation accounts for about 1.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
‘We cannot buy our way out of this crisis’
“Boris Johnson – himself a father – should consider what he wants his legacy to be: sustaining a dying fossil fuel economy, or creating a livable world for all our children,” Maya Mailer, co-founder of Mothers Rise Up and campaigns lead for Our Kids’ Climate, told openDemocracy.
“The banks and institutions set to advise the UK government have [been] and still are complicit in the destruction of the climate, the violation of Indigenous and human rights, and harms to public health,” added Osprey Orielle Lake, executive director of Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network.
“What is needed now from governments and investors alike is immediate action to invest in community-led solutions, ecological sustainability, and human and Indigenous rights, as we face the unprecedented challenges of a world in climate chaos,” she said. “We cannot buy our way out of this crisis.”
Weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin also has a seat on the council.
Council members are unpaid, and the government said their appointments were made “in strict accordance with Cabinet Office guidance”.
The government’s announcement could attribute only 56,000 new jobs created last year to foreign investment.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told openDemocracy that the Investment Council’s members come from a broad range of sectors and include global investment leaders with significant expertise of international markets.
Additional reporting by Nandini ArcherPrint