World's 5th largest pension fund ABP increases fossil fuel investments
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.
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.
- Report "ABP and fossil fuels: how our pensions are fueling the climate crisis";
- Report "ABP's carbon footprint: Trend analysis per asset class and sector", Profundo.
- Both ENDS, Cindy Coltman +31 6 25524361
- urgewald, Heffa Schucking +49-160-96761436
- Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information
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 / 3 February 2020
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.
Publication / 23 September 2019
Publication / 14 May 2017
Publication / 9 May 2018
Publication / 9 May 2018
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
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.
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 / 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.
Publication / 24 October 2019
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.
Event / 19 June 2022, 12:30
Still, more funds are spent on the fossil industry than on sustainable solutions. Banks, pension funds, insurers and governments keep investing in fossil infrastructure which endangers people and the environment. Therefore we call on financial institutions to stop funding the climate crisis.
Join our "Stop Fossil Finance" block at the next climate march!
Blog / 27 May 2022
and Abigail Kyomuhendo*
This week the annual shareholder meeting (AGM) of TotalEnergies took place. Whilst the shareholders celebrated their profits, Ugandan people were being evicted from their lands, thousands of kilometers away, for Total's East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Despite the existence of many hydropower dams, foreign investments and large government spending on energy, and new plans for hydropower, oil and gas projects, the vast majority of rural Uganda still remains without electricity. Together with our local partners we are striving towards a sustainable energy strategy for Uganda that starts from the needs and wishes of local communities.
News / 9 February 2022
TotalEnergies and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Cooperation (CNOOC) are currently developing an oil extraction and transportation project in Uganda: East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The project – the construction of a heated pipeline (EACOP) of no less than 1445 kilometers through Uganda and Tanzania to export crude oil, is increasingly causing human rights violations and environmental damage. This is a matter of great concern to civil society organisations in Uganda and beyond. This week, Both ENDS, together with partner organisations in Uganda, sent an urgent letter to twelve pension funds and asset managers with investments in TotalEnergies and CNOOC.
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.