Press Release: These five criteria help investors go green
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.
Lars Jensen, Senior Analyst at Sustainable Energy and co-author of the report: "This report helps investors assess the extent to which fossil fuel companies are already working in line with the energy transition. On that basis, investors can decide to sell their shares in certain companies not meeting the criteria. Investors can also clearly state in their policies that they will only re-invest in fossil companies if they meet these five criteria."
The five criteria that companies in the fossil sector should meet:
1. No lobbying for policies that reduce the probability of the 1.5°C goal.
2. No exploration spending.
3. No approval or acquisition of new fossil fuel infrastructure or projects.
4. A clear plan for wind down of fossil fuel extraction.
5. Remuneration policies that support managed decline of fossil fuel extraction.
World Pension Summit
The organisations present the report today at the World Pension Summit in The Hague, where more than 300 delegates from the international pension world come together. This year, the Summit is paying attention for the first time to the important role that pension funds can play in green financing. For good reasons, as pension funds invest around 27 trillion US dollars in OECD countries and a large part of this is related to fossil energy.
"In many countries, including the Netherlands, people cannot choose their pension fund themselves," says Cindy Coltman of Both ENDS. "Their money is invested in the fossil sector without them having any influence on it. This is not only climate unfriendly, but also not profitable in the longer run. Fossil investments are very risky investments. Pension funds even more than other investors have this responsibility to look at future risks, and they should take it. "
Not on track
People all over the world, but especially in the southern hemisphere, are already experiencing the effects of climate change on a daily basis. To stop that process, it was agreed in the Paris agreement that global warming should be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. As we are not nearly on track worldwide, all the stops need to be pulled out to achieve that goal. The organisations call on investors to stop investing in fossil fuels and to invest in renewable energy instead, because only if everyone joins in this effort climate change can be stopped.
The report Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses
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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.
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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.
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