Finance

ABP pension fund stops investing in coal, gas and oil

The pension fund for civil servants and teachers will sell the investments ‘step by step’. All interests in oil, gas and coal companies will be sold in the first quarter of 2023, ABP expects.

Support from participants

The decision has ‘no negative effect’ on the return that ABP achieves over several years, nor on the level of pensions, the fund expects. There is a lot of support for it from participants and employers. They had long wanted ABP to stop investing in fossil fuels.

The reason for the decision is the recently published climate report of the IPCC, the United Nations organization that collects research on climate change. According to this report, immediate action must be taken on a global scale to reduce global warming. To do this, CO2 emissions must be ‘quickly and drastically reduced’, according to the ABP.

‘Contribute’

“We want to contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said Corien Wortmann, chairman of the board of the pension fund.

With the move, ABP is responding to years of pressure on the fund to say goodbye to investments in companies that protest fossil fuels. In 2017, the fund still refused to do this, because it believed it could influence the companies as a shareholder.

Insufficient influence as a shareholder

“We are not leaving the energy sector, that’s the easy way,” said a spokesperson at the time. More than four years later, ABP returns to this. “ABP sees insufficient opportunity to exert influence on them as a shareholder and to enable them to make the switch to sustainable energy,” according to the press release.

Still, the fund has not yet given up hope that it can exert influence as a shareholder. The pension giant will now focus on sectors where a lot of fossil fuels are used, electricity companies, the car industry and aviation.

“We will further tighten the criteria for these investments in 2022,” says Wortmann. “And we will continue to work hard to end subsidies on fossil fuels.”

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