ABP faces sustainability pressures

ABP, the biggest pension fund in the Netherlands today announced that it will reduce CO2 emmissions of businesses it invests in by 25% within the next five years whilst doubling investments in sustainable energy.

The move follows public pressure from campaigning group 350.org, which presented a petition with 10.000 signatories in order to urge ABP to divest form fossil fuels.

ABP currently managed €356bn on behalf of government and education employees in the Netherlands.

Boardmember Corien Wortmann-Kool comments on the new targets: “Over the next five years, all 4000 business where we currently own bonds will have to apply again to be included in our investment portfolio.”

We will not only consider the risks return ratio, but also the level of sustainability and responsible business decisions. We anticipate that the returns will be at least just as good as current investments. A good pension for our members remains our key priority.”

Yet campaigners express disappointment with current measures. Vatan Hüzeir co-founder of the ABP Fossil Free campaign says: “Over 10,000 people have called on their pension fund to be free of investments in fossil fuels. The ABP has now put climate change on their agenda but if you want to be sustainable, you cannot continue to invest in the companies that are pushing us into climate chaos.”

Pointing to the poor investment performance of fossil fuels, Chris Roorda, co-founder of ABP Fossil Free, adds: “ABP’s fossil fuel investments are not only destroying the climate but they also jeopardise our pensions. The majority of fossil fuel reserves cannot be burnt to avoid catastrophic climate change. Fossil fuel companies are grossly overvalued and we already see them lose value. ABP is not transparent in this regard but similar pension funds in the UK and USA have lost billions on their fossil fuel holdings last year.”

ABP is not the only pension fund to face public pressure over the sustainability of its investment portfolio, a recent report by campaign group Platform London estimates that UK pension funds are set to loose out on £683m due to the depreciating value of investments in coal companies.

Mona Dohle
Mona Dohle speaks German and Dutch, she is DACH & Benelux Correspondent for InvestmentEurope. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist in Egypt and Palestine. She started her career as a journalist working for a local German newspaper. Mona graduated with an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS and has completed the CISI Certificate in International Wealth and Investment Management.

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