Netherlands’ ABP aiming for climate-neutral investment portfolio by 2050

Dutch pension fund, ABP, is aiming for a climate-neutral investment portfolio by 2050.

The goal is part of the €442bn fund’s new sustainable and responsible investment policy published today, 3 February, which has also seen it set specific goals for 2025 and 2030.

The policy will see ABP phase out investments in coal mines and tar sands, and it also plans to reduce CO2 emissions from its equity portfolio by 40 per cent (compared to 2015). ABP CEO, Corien Wortmann, said its news policy has formulated a “vision for 2050”.

ABP said it has already started utilising the Dutch Energy Transition Fund to invest in companies and startups that are committed to the transition to sustainable energy in the Netherlands. In addition, ABP will determine additional climate criteria that companies must meet in order to be included in the investment portfolio.

Specifically, ABP wants to focus on climate change and the transition to clean energy, as well as more economical uses of natural resources, and the digitisation of society.

Wortmann: “We are going to invest more in companies that work on the reuse of raw materials and responsible food production and in companies that are looking for solutions to combat climate change and resource scarcity through digitisation. This is an important step. Because for investors, and therefore also for us, these are new unexplored areas. But progress must also be made on this."

Despite its proposals, the policy has been criticised by Fossielvrij NL and Greenpeace Netherlands for keeping oil and gas in a ‘blind spot’. The two organisations believe that ABP is ‘taking steps in the right direction’. However, it highlights that its policy means it will remain invested in coal utilities, oil and gas over the next 10 years.

“These steps in the right direction for ABP are too little and too late to avoid a catastrophic climate crisis,” Fossielvrij NL (350.org’s Dutch branch) director, Liset Meddens, said.

“A growing number of pension participants no longer accept that ABP continues to invest in major oil and gas companies, such as Exxon and Shell. These companies are at the core of the climate crisis, they abuse human rights, spread lies, and keep looking for new oil and gas reserves in times of a climate emergency.”

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