Biggest Dutch pension fund drops tobacco, nuclear weapon investments

The smoking zone at the VU teaching hospital

Dutch civil service pension fund ABP, one of the biggest pension funds in world, is to phase out all investments in tobacco and nuclear weapons.

The pension fund intends to sell all its investments in the tobacco and nuclear weapons industries – totalling some €3.3bn – within the next year, it said in a statement on Thursday. ABP has 2.9 million participants and some €405bn in available assets.

‘Investments in tobacco and nuclear weapons have been a dilemma for us for quite some time,’ said investment policy committee chairman Erik van Houwelingen. ‘Changes in society, also at an international level, were a reason for ABP to put the topic on the agenda again.’

Floris Italianer, director of the Dutch Heart Foundation and chair of the Dutch Alliance for a Smoke-free Environment, welcomed the pension fund’s decision. 

ABP is taking a big step towards discouraging tobacco use and realising a smoke-free generation,’ he said.  ‘We also call on other leaders in society, like executives of other financial institutions, service providers and supermarkets, to follow this example.’

Earlier this month, high street health and beauty chain Kruidvat said it was phasing out the sale of tobacco products from its stores.