The world’s 5th largest pension fund, with assets of over €430 billion, Dutch ABP is continuing to invest in companies that are on a collision course with the Paris climate goals, such as coal and oil companies. New analysis by environmental NGOs, Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace Netherlands and urgewald reveals that ABP’s fossil fuel investments went up from €14 billion in 2015 to €16.5 billion at the end of 2018, in stark contrast to other European investors.
“ABP claims to reduce fossil fuels, but the emissions from its investments in oil and gas are rising. ABP doubled its investments in Gazprom and tripled its investments in Rosneft, Russian companies that are drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic region and are planning massive expansion. Dutch pension money shouldn’t be used for boosting the climate emergency,” said Kees Kodde, Greenpeace Netherlands campaigner.
ABP has 3 million pension savers and pensioners in total. Investing in over 4,500 companies worldwide, 93% of its investments are outside the Netherlands. The analysis, based on research by consultancy Profundo commissioned by the four NGOs, also reveals that emissions caused by ABP’s investments were 97 million tons CO2equivalent in 2018, which is more than half of the CO2 emissions of the Netherlands.
In addition, Profundo’s analysis of attributable CO2 emissions from ABP’s investment portfolio found that the total emissions from four asset classes – equity investments, corporate bonds, sovereign bonds, and real estate – have decreased by 9.6% from 2015 to 2018. This is much less than the 28% reduction ABP claims.
“ABP is still massively invested in coal. ABP holds investments in 96 coal companies all over the world whose installed coal-fired capacity amounts to 558 Giga Watt, one fourth of the world’s total coal-fired capacity,” said Heffa Schucking, Director of German NGO urgewald.
Coal is the biggest single source of CO2 emissions and investments in the coal industry are subject to significant economic risks. Despite this, ABP continues to hold on to its coal investments, amounting to over €3.5 billion, while leading European investors are divesting. AXA, for example, has divested some 200 coal companies since 2015.
“ABP should be investing for the long run. Now that ABP is developing new sustainability targets for 2025, we expect ABP to bring its policies in line with the Paris Climate Accord and keeping the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees – this means they need to divest from all fossil fuel companies in the short term,” said Cindy Coltman, Both ENDS Senior Policy Officer.
The potential for climate change to trigger the next financial crisis is enormous. EU member countries incurred economic losses caused by weather and climate-related extremes up to approximately €436 billion between 1980 and 2016. ABP was severely hit during the financial crisis in 2008 and it is now exposing itself, and its pensioners, again to serious risk by being so dependent on fossil fuel companies.
Greenpeace Netherlands, Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL and urgewald call on ABP to immediately halt all new investments in fossil fuel companies; commit itself to phasing out existing fossil fuel investments; rigorously push companies it invests in to align their goals with a maximum of 1.5°C, and set transparent and time bound goals for its shareholder engagement.