Criticism of Dutch pension fund ABP’s investments in coal, oil and gas
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.
ABP's total investment in coal, the most risky and climate-disrupting polluter, was 4.3 billion euros in December 2016. That is 18% more than a year earlier. "This is in stark contrast to the intention to be a fully sustainable pension fund by 2020, as ABP announced last year," says Both ENDS' Cindy Coltman. "In order to achieve that, ABP should start by selling off all investments in coal, but the opposite has happened."
A large number of coal companies in which ABP invests plan to expand capacity. "Altogether it adds to more than 239,000 megawatts, almost five times as much as Russia now owns, and more than fifty times the coal capacity of the Netherlands," said Heffa Schucking of urgewald. "Of course, in the light of the Climate Agreement of Paris, this is unacceptable."
Oil and gas
Investments in oil and gas companies increased by 23% last year, to 6.9 billion euros in December 2016. Of significant note are ExxonMobil (832 million euros) and Shell (472 million euros).
Liset Meddens of Fossielvrij NL: "It is unacceptable for these companies to continue to explore and dig for new reserves when we know that if we use up all the reserves from the oil and gas fields that are currently operational, the temperature on Earth would already rise more than 2 degrees Celsius."
In addition to the impact of coal, oil and gas on the climate, their exploration and production has too often disastrous consequences for people and the environment in which they live.
In Indonesia, for example, ABP invests in the three companies behind the construction of the Batang Power Plant, the largest coal power plant in Indonesia. Protesting residents are intimidated and threatened by these companies, under the supervision of the local police. However, ABP has expanded its investments in these companies between June and December 2016.
ABP also has an investment of 379 million euros in three of Colombia's largest coal mining companies: BHP Billiton, Glencore and Anglo American. Colombia's coal mining is accompanied by gross violence against the locals, displacement from homes, disappearances and murders.
"The examples from our report show pensioners at ABP the local impact of the projects in which their pension funds are invested," says Coltman of Both ENDS.
Increase ambition level
Heffa Shucking: "Our report can be considered as a shadow report of the Sustainable and Responsible Report 2016, published by ABP itself on Monday, 8 May 2017. ABP has good intentions, but at present it is not clear under what conditions and within which period ABP will withdraw its fossil fuel investments. We want to encourage ABP to sharpen the ambitions of its investment policy. "
"ABP does not seem to realize that just by continuing to invest in the fossil fuel sector, this sector is being further stimulated," says Meddens of Fossielvrij NL. "It's not just about coal, oil and gas extraction, but also for the entire infrastructure around it. Ports, pipelines, power stations, roads, the whole circus must be uprooted for an energy transition that we have internationally agreed we want to get there as soon as possible!"
The authors of the report therefore call on ABP to provide much more openness about their investments in the fossil fuel sector, reduce all investments in coal by the end of 2017 and over the next five years reduce their investments in oil and gas to zero.
Information for the press (not for publication)
Contact person in Germany:
• Heffa Schucking (urgewald): email@example.com / +49 16096761436
For more information
Read more about this subject
Press release / 27 September 2017
Despite climate agreements, the Netherlands supports the fossil sector with 7.6 billion euros a year
Although outgoing economics minister Henk Kamp stated in May of this year that fossil fuels are not subsidised in the Netherlands, a report out today shows that this is clearly not the case. The report. ‘Phase-Out 2020: Monitoring Europe’s fossil fuel subsidies’, by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Climate Action Network Europe (CAN-Europe), says that the Netherlands is supporting the fossil sector at home and abroad with more than 7.6 billion euros a year (1). The Netherlands made international agreements as long ago as 2009 (2) to ban subsidies for fossil fuels. Environment NGO Milieudefensie and Both ENDS – both members of CAN-Europe – call attention to these findings because they find it unacceptable that the government perpetuates our dependence on fossil fuels in this way.
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 / 9 May 2018
Publication / 9 May 2018
News / 11 December 2017
Yesterday, the French President Macron, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, met with international leaders and committed citizens from around the world in Paris. According to the organisers, the aim of this gathering was to 'address the ecological emergency for our planet' as 'two years to the day after the historic Paris Agreement, it is time for concrete action.'
News / 8 November 2018
Every 10 years, the mandate and activities of 'Export Development Canada' (EDC), the Canadian export credit agency, are reviewed. Since the last review took place in 2008, another review is currently underway. Both ENDS and a couple of other CSOs working from a number of countries made a joint submission as formal input to the legislative review. We did this especially in light of the Canadian governments' ambition to show leadership on climate change and to prioritise climate change action and clean economic growth.
Publication / 18 June 2017
Publication / 14 May 2017
Publication / 14 May 2017
Two-thirds of the export credit insurances that Atradius DSB provided in the 2012-2015 period went to the fossil energy sector. That is contrary to the climate agreements that the Netherlands signed in Paris.
News / 28 August 2017
Last June, Both ENDS published a report which showed clearly that, through export credit insurance provider Atradius Dutch State Business (ADSB), the Netherlands is supporting the fossil fuel sector on a large scale. Between 2012 and 2015, ADSB provided billions of euros in insurance and guarantees, on behalf of the State of the Netherlands, to fossil-related export projects. This support is completely out of line with the Paris Climate Agreement. On 20 June, members of parliament Lammert van Raan (PvdD) and Sandra Beckerman (SP) submitted questions to the State Secretaries for Finance and for Infrastructure and the Environment.
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.
Publication / 25 December 2015
Event / 30 November 2015
During the COP21 in Paris, Both ENDS will be cooperating and presenting with partners on a number of events. If you plan on going, please consider visiting one or more of these sessions:
Publication / 4 November 2016
Both ENDS calls on the government only to provide export credit insurance to sustainable projects that cause no social and/or environmental damage in the countries where they take place.
In 2015, the member states of the United Nations committed themselves to the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs recognise the importance of equality within and between countries, of decision-making processes in which all people are included and heard, and of legal systems that are independent and accessible to all.
News / 10 November 2017
Both ENDS' Niels Hazekamp and Daan Robben are joining the Climate CoP in Bonn to actively follow the negotiations, with a special focus on certain topics such as subsidies and support for fossil fuels, climate finance, climate adaptation, and gender. Both ENDS also co-organises a side event together with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
Event / 20 June 2017
Eurodad's International Conference is co-hosted by Eurodad's Dutch members ActionAid Netherlands, Both ENDS, OIKOS, Oxfam Novib and SOMO. It will be held in the Caballero Fabriek in The Hague.
News / 7 October 2018
We are very proud that our director Daniëlle Hirsch has been included again in the ‘Sustainable 100’ (an annual ranking list published by Dutch newspaper Trouw), and has gone up more than 40 spots compared to last year! Danielle was included in the list because of the many things she does with her organisation as a whole, but she got the higher ranking for the way she combines her criticism of the destructive role of the Netherlands as a trading nation and large cause of CO2 emissions in the world (often supported by the Dutch government), with a constructive attitude when it comes to finding alternatives and solutions.