ABP announces 'ambitious' sustainable investment plans

Dutch pension fund, ABP, has announced plans to implement a more sustainable investment policy in 2022, amid protests from members and activists over its current holdings.

In particular, it announced plans to become stricter when assessing the climate efforts being made by energy companies, as it “wants to show more ambition in actually contributing to the transitions, such as the energy transition”.

The pension fund, which serves those working in the government and education sectors, announced the plans following a demonstration of around 200 fund members in Amsterdam on Friday (25 June), with 30 activists also at the ABP head office in Heerlen.

The protestors warned that there is no time to waste in preventing the Earth from warming up too quickly, particularly considering the consequences to nature and ourselves.

Previous research from the fund also showed that 65 per cent of members are in favour of ABP investing sustainably and responsibly, whilst around a quarter wanted the fund to invest even more sustainably, particularly in sustainable energy.

Addressing the protest, ABP chairman of the board, Corien Wortmann, confirmed that the pension fund will adjust its ambitions around sustainable and responsible investment "in the coming months".

She emphasised that ABP is about “more than financial returns” and wants to “sharpen its ambition” around sustainability, with these plans expected to be implemented from 2022.

Wortmann also stressed that she wanted to keep in touch with members, emphasising that it is “certain” that ABP will invest more in affordable and sustainable energy.

"You are our participants. That's why I'm here too. Your wish is clear: a fossil-free pension,” she stated.

ABP recently invested almost €14bn in sustainable energy at the end of 2020, although the share of fossil fuels also amounted to €15bn at this time.

“We will continue to reduce this further,” Wortmann confirmed, however, with the pension scheme to receive insight on a more sustainable investment policy from a group of investment experts from Dutch universities.

ABP will be drawing up the plans for its more ambitious sustainable investment strategy "in the coming months" and will also be working in close collaboration with pension provider APG.

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