Four-day protest at care and welfare pension fund over fossil fuel investments
Civil society organizations protest in front of the care and welfare pension fund PFZW for four days against its investments in fossil fuels. Volunteers from Amnesty International, Cordaid, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, Milieudefensie, and Oxfam Novib relieve each other in a "protest relay" with banners against fossil fuel investments. Participants in the pension fund also join.
PFZW is the second-largest pension fund in the Netherlands. The largest fund, ABP, announced last year that it would stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. The civil society organizations believe it is time for PFZW to follow suit. According to the Fair Money Guide published in 2021, 83 percent of the fund's energy investments are in fossil energy, over four times as much as the investments in sustainable energy.
PFWZ chair Joanne Kellerman said in October that she felt the pressure to invest fossil-free. The fund "drastically reduced" CO2 emissions but has not abandoned investments in fossil fuels. A spokesperson for PFWZ repeated this on Tuesday. The fund believes it important to stay at the table as a shareholder and exert pressure there to go green.
Retired nurse Josee van der Veer said she finds it incomprehensible that her pension fund invests in fossil fuels. "Millions of people die every year from air pollution caused by that industry. So while we as healthcare workers try to heal people, my pension fund invests in making people sick? Not to mention the influence of the fossil fuel industry on the climate and human rights."
Greenpeace is the first at the PFZW head office in Zeist on Tuesday morning. The environmental organization kicked off the protest with 15 to 20 activists. Christians Climate Action followed later in the day and protested at the office until the end of the working day. Cordaid and Extinction Rebellion will conclude the demonstration on Friday.
PFZW said that the fund already had several talks with the demonstrators. "We are pursuing the same goal; we also want to combat global warming," said the spokeswoman. "But our approach is different." She stressed that the pension fund is committed to being climate-neutral by 2050.
Reporting by ANP.