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 Netherlands 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."
- ABP and Fossil Fuels, report by Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace and urgewald, 2019
- Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses, report by Sustainable Energy, DivestInvest and Both ENDS, 2019.
- Heffa Schucking, Urgewald, +49 2583 304920, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cindy Coltman, Both ENDS, +31 6 25524361, email@example.com
- Liset Meddens, Fossielvrij NL, +31 641277905, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bram Karst, Greenpeace Netherlands press officer, +31 6 2129 6895, email@example.com
Read more about this subject
Pension funds have a lot of influence because of their enormous assets. Both ENDS therefore wants pension funds such as the Dutch ABP to withdraw their investments from the fossil industry and to invest sustainably instead.
Press release / 9 May 2018
New research by Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL and urgewald shows that, in 2017, pension fund ABP invested 500 million euros more in coal, oil and gas than in the previous year – a total of 10.9 billion euros. These investments in fossil fuels not only stand in sharp contrast to ABP's claim that it has achieved substantial successes in its climate policy, but are also in flagrant violation of the Paris climate agreement. Unlike international forerunners among pension funds, ABP continues unabated to invest in the fossil energy sector.
Publication / 14 May 2017
Publication / 9 May 2018
Publication / 9 May 2018
Publication / 14 May 2017
Press release / 23 September 2019
Amsterdam, 23 September 2019 - 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.
Publication / 23 September 2019
News / 1 May 2019
Amsterdam 1 May 2019 - Dutch pension fund ABP's 'sustainable and responsible investment report’ today suggests that the pension fund is well on track in terms attaining its internal sustainability goals. However, an analysis by Fossielvrij NL, Both ENDS, urgewald and Greenpeace shows that ABP remains on a collision course with the Paris climate goals. At the end of 2018, ABP still invested 16.5 billion Euros in the fossil industry. ABP's investments in the world's 44 largest climate polluters even increased between 2016 and 2018.
Press release / 14 May 2017
The Dutch pension fund, ABP, invested about two billion euros more in the fossil energy industry at the end of 2016 than the year before. This is announced by the report "Dirty & Dangerous: the fossil fuel investments of Dutch pension fund ABP," published today by Both ENDS, German urgewald and Fossielvrij NL. The report criticizes these investments because of the impact on the climate and the catastrophic consequences for the people in the areas where coal, oil and gas are being produced.
Press release / 6 May 2020
The value of ABP's pension fund investments in fossil fuel companies has fallen by 44% from end of last year to its lowest point on March 16 this year, while the value of the rest of the portfolio decreased by 26%. This impact can be seen in simulations based on the publicly available equity portfolios of Dutch pension funds ABP and Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), carried out by research agency Profundo on behalf of Both ENDS. The simulations show that the risks of investing in the fossil fuel sector are increasing.
External link / 31 May 2018
In 2017 Both ENDS stepped up its efforts to stop the Dutch government from supporting the fossil fuel industry. Phasing out fossil fuels is key to achieving the goals set in the Paris Climate Agreement. To Both ENDS, there is another reason: fossil fuel-related projects often have disastrous effects for the poorest people in the Global South.
News / 2 February 2020
The world has to stop using fossil fuels, but investment in the sector continues unabated. Investors of all kinds, including banks, insurance companies and pension funds, are hesitant about making the change to sustainable energy and are not sure where to start. In the autumn of 2019, together with the DivestInvest Network and Sustainable Energy (Denmark), Both ENDS published a report entitled ‘Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses’. The report describes five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively taking steps to wind down their fossil activities. The criteria are helping investors to choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal of restricting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. We spoke to Lars Jensen, Senior Analyst at Sustainable Energy and lead author of the report.
Press release / 22 June 2020
Amsterdam, Copenhagen 22 June 2020 – In these times of increasing climate crisis, corporate social responsibility also means that investments in fossil gas must be phased out as quickly as possible. In a world in which a maximum temperature rise of 1.5 Celsius is the norm, fossil gas cannot be a 'transition fuel' towards sustainable energy. This is the message from five European environmental organisations (Both ENDS, the Danish AnsvarligFremtid, Fossil Free Sweden, Fossil Free Berlin and the Italian Re:Common) to pension funds in their countries that still invest in fossil gas companies. They are promoting that message with a new campaign called "Gas Free Pensions", which is being launched today.
Press release / 24 October 2019
Press release 24 October 2019
Starting today, investors can use five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively working on phasing out their fossil activities. Too many investors still seem hesitant to switch to a profitable future of sustainable energy and these criteria should help them do this. The organisations DivestInvest Network, Sustainable Energy (Denmark) and Both ENDS (the Netherlands) publish the report "Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses" today, which describes these five criteria. The criteria aim to help investors choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal "stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius warming." The recommendations are presented at the World Pension Summit deliberately, because pension fund investors in particular can take more responsibility in this.
Publication / 24 October 2019
Press release / 26 March 2019
Wealthy Dutch investors to disinvest personal capital worth 200 million euros from the fossil industry
Joint press release from Both ENDS and Fossielvrij NL - 26 March 2019
A group of 22 wealthy Dutch investors have decided to disinvest all their personal capital, worth a total of 200 million euros, from the top 200 oil, gas and coal companies. The investors have pledged to disinvest all their capital from the fossil industry within three to five years. By doing so, they are giving a clear signal that they do not want their capital to contribute to disastrous climate change.
Both ENDS is co-plaintiff in the climate lawsuit being brought by Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth The Netherlands) against Shell to stop the company from causing harm to the climate. Shell has known about the severity of the climate problem for many years but continues with the climate-polluting extraction of oil and gas. By doing so, it undermines efforts to achieve the climate goals. Companies have a responsibility not to cause serious harm to society and the climate. Because Shell refuses to take that responsibility itself, we are taking the company to court. In brief, we demand that Shell has zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and adapts its activities to be fully aligned with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement.
News / 18 November 2019
Good news for the climate: last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021. This is part of its new energy strategy.
Press release / 11 September 2020
100+ NGOs launch #Together4Forests urging EU action
Fires raging in the Amazon are started deliberately to make way for large-scale industrial agriculture – and EU market demand for commodities produced on former-forest land is adding fuel to the fires. Globally, the EU is responsible for over 10% of forest destruction through its consumption of commodities like meat, dairy, soy for animal feed, palm oil, coffee and cacao.