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.
Biju Mathew, an American professor from India who is also active for the 'Mining Zone Peoples Solidarity Group (MZPSG), visited Both ENDS' office in Amsterdam on January 19th. He was returning from a 'fact-finding mission' in the province of Orissa in India, where Korean steel company POSCO has plans for building a steel plant, several iron ore mines, roads, a railroad and a private harbor.
It has been planned for several years, but had so far been postponed: the Korean steel company POSCO wants to build and operate on a large scale in Orissa, an Indian state. Local people, environmental organizations and experts strongly resisted the plan, with all the consequences that entailed. Local police and militias cracked down the protests and recently there were four deaths. Wiert Wiertsema points out the responsibility of ABP, the Dutch pension fund that invested in POSCO. Wiertsema and ABP talked recently about the issue following an official complaint by the FGG Alliance on violations of the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has published its new policy for energy investments. In the new draft policy, the bank states to stop investing in fossil fuel related projects from 2020. This is good news for the climate, so Both ENDS and partners are happy with this draft policy. The shareholders of the bank, the member states of the European Union, still have to approve it.
South Korean company POSCO uses violence against the local population and violates human rights in a controversial mining project in India. Dutch pension fund ABP has shares in POSCO and should therefore put pressure on the company to act according to the rules. This is argued by Fair, Green & Global, an alliance of Dutch civil society organizations. The alliance has therefore submitted a complaint about POSCO violating the OECD Guidelines (on corporate social responsibility) for multinational companies.
Reward high-risk international business projects investing in a green future and stop support for the international fossil industry
The climate is 'hot'. Everyone is talking about it. 'Everyone needs to do something' calls the government in its recently started public campaign. Good plan. Let's really do something. For a start, we can stop supporting international trade in fossil energy by our own multinationals. That would free up 1.5 billion euros which we could use to combat climate change on an international scale and at the same time give our own innovative businesses a boost. Today's Vergeten Klimaattafel (Forgotten Climate Roundtable) will discuss the opportunities for the Netherlands to have a real impact. And those opportunities are enormous. Because our big money and our influence lie beyond our borders.
The climate debate in the Netherlands is bogged down in what we can change at home and does not touch on our actions abroad. And that is a missed opportunity. Precisely because our international trade model is both so influential and, at the same time, such a widespread cause of pollution, changes in that policy can have an immediate effect.