Dutch pension to dump coal, oil investments to reduce CO2 emissions

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The Dutch care and welfare pension fund PFZW wants to halve the climate footprint of its investments by 2020. To do so the fund will be investing less in companies with high greenhouse gas emissions, and more in companies that contribute in solving the climate problem.

The PFZW made this announcement on Tuesday. The pension fund has a total invested capital of 161 billion euros. About 1.7 billion euros in shares will be reinvested into more environmentally friendly funds. Investments in companies contributing in solving the climate problem will eventually be quadrupled.

PFZW director Peter Borgdorff told NRC that these plans stem from the financial crisis of 2008. After recovering from the sock, the fund asked itself why things went so wrong. "Our conclusion was: it was partly because of the assumption, with us too, that we needed high returns in order to realize our ambitions. With that you force financial markets to such returns, even if at the expense of other things", he said to the news agency. That is now changing.

The fund will henceforth be working towards an adequate, "and not necessarily the highest", pension paid out in a livable world. And to make sure the world is still livable in future, the climate problem needs to be addressed. "Climate is about sea levels rising, but also about migration of people from areas that become uninhabitable, it is about water scarcity and food shortages. It affects us all, it is a world problem." Bordorff said to NRC.