03/02/2020

Climate movement: ABP takes steps on coal and tar sands, but oil and gas remain blind spot

Amsterdam, 3 February 2020 – A step forward, but oil and gas remain a blind spot in Dutch pension fund ABP’s new investment policy published today. That’s what environmental organisations Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace and urgewald say in response to the new climate policy of the EU’s largest pension fund, with assets over 442 billion euros. Although ABP is taking first steps to invest sustainably, more is needed to stop the climate crisis.

Already in 2014, the environmental movement called on ABP to withdraw all its investments in coal, and also from all fossil companies that continue to invest in the expansion of oil and gas. The organizations regret that ABP does not act in line with the urgency of the climate crisis.

According to the organizations, ABP is taking steps in the right direction with the objective of reducing the CO2 emissions of ABP shares by 40% by 2025. They also welcome ABP’s intention  to withdraw from companies that generate more than 30% of their turnover from coal mining or more than 20% from tar sand oil. But that means that for the coming 10 years, ABP will continue to hold investments of billions of Euros in coal utilities, oil and gas.

“These steps in the right direction of ABP are too little and too late to avoid a catastrophic climate crisis” says Liset Meddens, director Fossielvrij NL (350.org’s Dutch branch). “A growing number of pension participants doesn’t accept any longer 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.” 

Heffa Schucking, director urgewald: “We welcome ABP’s intention to phase out of coal utilities by 2030. But ABP does not clarify how it will reduce coal investments over the coming 10 years. 2030 is still very far away and the time to act is now. It is also hard to understand why ABP continues to invest in companies building new coal plants.” 

Cindy Coltman, Both ENDS: “Of all the money invested in the world, nearly half is pension money. That gives pension funds an enormous responsibility to ensure that their investments do not exacerbate the climate crisis. In many places in the world, communities face disastrous consequences of the climate crisis. In Southern Africa, millions of people suffer from hunger, Australia is burning and regions such as the Sahel face increasing desertification. This crisis calls for big changes, small steps are not enough.”  


More information:

Media contacts:

Heffa Schucking, Urgewald, +49 2583 304920, heffa@urgewald.org

Cindy Coltman, Both ENDS, +31 6 25524361, c.coltman@bothends.org

Liset Meddens, Fossielvrij NL, +31 641277905, liset@350.org

Bram Karst, Greenpeace Netherlands press officer, +31 6 2129 6895, bkarst@greenpeace.org