Carbon Footprint Increases at ABP

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Following the publication of a report reviewing the investment holdings of ABP, Greenpeace admonished the Dutch pension fund for its increasing holdings of fossil fuel companies.

    ABP is the biggest pension fund of the Netherlands, with assets of over €430 billion. It is also the 5th largest pension fund in the world. ABP covers 3 million pension savers and pensioners from the government, defence and education sectors. APG Asset Management is the investment arm of ABP. It invests in over 4,500 companies worldwide, with 93% of its investments located outside the Netherlands.

    According to a report by consultancy firm Profundo, 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. The share of oil in the pension fund’s investments in the energy sector went up from 25% to 29% between 2015 and 2018. The share of coal fell from 8% in 2015 to 5% in 2018. Coal investments still total over €3.5 billion, only marginally less than the over €3.6 billion total at the time of the Paris Climate Agreement.

    According to the report , which was commissioned by Both ENDS, Fossiel Vrij NL, Greenpeace Netherlands and Urgewald, the overall share of gas in ABP energy portfolio fell from 34% in 2015 to 30% in 2018. However, this fall hides an increase from 28% to 30% between 2017 and 2018.

    According to the research, between 2015 and 2018, there was a 21% and a 26% increase in the carbon footprint of ABP’s equity and corporate bond portfolios, respectively.

    The investment decisions that perhaps most hurt ABP’s environmental credentials are its doubling and tripling of positions in Russian energy companies. “During 2018, ABP doubled its investments in Gazprom and tripled its investments in Rosneft,” according to the report. “ABPs investments in Lukoil, a company that is in conflict with indigenous Komi people in Russia over oil spills, doubled between December 2017 and March 2019 to 337 million.”

    Greenpeace highlighted these problematic investments. “ABP claims to reduce fossil fuels, but the emissions from its investments in oil and gas are rising,” said Kees Kodde, Greenpeace Netherlands campaigner. “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.”

    “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,” added Heffa Schucking, Director of German NGO Urgewald.

    “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.

    Greenpeace’s criticism of ABP concludes with a call to action. “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.”

    Image from Pixabay

    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe is an economist with 8 years of experience in macroeconomic and financial analysis for the Economist Intelligence Unit, the UN World Institute for Development Economic Research, the Stockholm School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Filipe holds a MSc in European Political Economy from the LSE and a MSc in Economics from the University of London, where he currently is a PhD candidate.

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