First big NL pension fund ditches fossil fuel investments


Metal and technology industry pension fund PME is the first major Dutch pension funds to have sold off all its interests in fossil fuels, it announced on Friday.

PME is one of the Netherlands’ biggest pension funds, along with civil servants’ fund ABP (the country’s largest), healthcare fund PFZW and building sector fund bpfBOUW.

‘In the last year we had to conclude that things were not moving quickly enough,’ chair of PME’s executive board Eric Uijen told broadcaster NOS. ‘The energy transition needs to pick up speed and we want to help it move faster,’

The sale, concluded in the summer, raised €1.2bn which will be invested in solar parks, wind turbine parks, hydropower and energy-saving initiatives over the coming years.

The argument that continuing to invest in plants powered by fossil fuels would be economically more advantageous no longer holds, Uijen said.

‘We think this move will not influence the size of the pensions. If anything, investment in old energy – at least, I hope, it will soon be old energy –  will only become more risky,’ he said. PME manages a capital fund of €62bn and currently has a coverage ratio of 102.6 %.

Other pension funds are also contemplating stepping out of fussil fuel investments, Uijlen said. ‘The fact that we are one of the largest to have done so is good, but we need a much larger movement to create positive impact. We have to invest in new energy and I hope that all these large institutions will think about it and reach the same conclusion.’

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