ABP ranked as most sustainable Dutch pension scheme for fourth year

Dutch pension fund, ABP, has been ranked as the most sustainable pension fund in the Netherlands for the fourth year in a row by the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO).

Its latest Benchmark on Responsible Investment by Pension Funds in the Netherlands examines the responsible investment policy and performance of Dutch pension funds with the support of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV).

The benchmark assesses the 50 largest pension funds in the Netherlands, together accounting for 89 per cent of assets under management with a total value of more than €1,540bn. ABP was the highest scorer with a score of four out of five.

Commenting, ABP chairman of the board, Corien Wortmann, said: “We consider it a great boost that ABP has been named the most sustainable fund by VBDO for the fourth year in a row. VBDO is raising the bar considerably and we are also raising our ambition. We want to make a very concrete and measurable contribution to the Paris climate goals and a better world.”

Last week, ABP announced that it was to divest €15bn of fossil fuel investments, with the majority of divestments expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2023. ABP was followed by BpfBouw (3.9) and PME (3.6). Pensioenfonds ING climbs from 46th to 29th place, making it the fastest climber.

The benchmark also found that nine out of 10 pension funds make use of exclusion, environmental, social and governance (ESG) integration and engagement when investing. Despite sustainable investment becoming the “undeniable standard” within the sector, VBDO said there is still much to be achieved in terms of concrete implementation among the 50 largest Dutch pension funds.

For example, less than one in five pension funds in the Netherlands have a climate strategy with net-zero emission targets. As a result, the pension sector does not yet meet the climate commitment that was issued in 2019 – the deadline is 2022.

FNV chairman, Tuur Elzinga, said: “The pressure from society on pension funds to invest sustainably is increasing. We also notice this among our members. We are happy with the steps that are taken every year, but we are not there yet. There is still a lot to gain in the field of climate and human rights, and in particular workers’ rights. Hopefully, the benchmark will encourage the sector to do more. To look at the good examples and to implement them ourselves.”

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