October 14, 2015

Dutch pension fund’s new sustainability policy lacks ambition and leadership on climate change

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — Campaigners responded to today’s announcement of Dutch pension fund ABP’s new sustainability policy [1] with a call on the world’s fifth-largest pension fund to stop investments in fossil fuel companies driving the climate crisis. ABP currently invests more than €30bn in fossil fuels compared to just about €1bn in renewable energy.

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.”

Chris Roorda, another 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.”

Recent research found that UK public pension funds’ investments in coal have lost nearly $1 billion over the last 18 months. [2] In the United States, California’s two major public pension funds lost more than $5 billion on their fossil fuel holdings over the last fiscal year. [3]

While the Fossil Free campaigners are glad that ABP is starting to move, they are determined to push the pension fund to go further. Vatan Hüzeir says: “We will continue to press ABP for more clarity on how their announcement today translates into action and to stop investments in fossil fuels altogether. We know we are in the majority: A recent survey found that 6 out of 10 pension savers want their pension fund to stop investments in fossil fuels.”

In March, ABP Fossil Free delivered a call to divest from fossil fuels, which was signed by more than 10,000 people, to the fund’s board.

Worldwide, more and more investors pull their money out of coal, oil and gas companies. Earlier this year, the Norwegian Parliament decided that the country’s sovereign wealth fund, one of the top ten investors in the global coal industry, will sell off over $8bn in coal investments. [4]



Media contact: Vatan Hüzeir, ABP Fossil Free, +31610801500


Notes to editor:

[1] ABP announced to reduce the CO2 footprint of its investments by 25% by 2020, and double its investments for a ‘better and cleaner future’. ABP ‘ABP presenteert nieuw beleid verantwoord beleggen’, 14 October 2015

[2] Financial Times, ‘Almost $1bn wiped off the value of UK pensions’ coal investments’, 11 October 2015

[3] Los Angeles Times, ‘CalPERS, CalSTRS took big losses on energy investments, report says’, 13 August 2015

[4] Detailed list of fossil fuel divestment commitments: https://gofossilfree.org/commitments/