Half Dutch sustainable investment funds break EU guidelines

Photo: Depositphotos.com

More than half the Dutch investment funds calling themselves sustainable are still investing in the fossil fuel sector and will not meet new EU rules when they come into effect later this year, according to an international collective of investigative journalists.

The team, which includes Dutch news platforms Follow the Money and Investico, looked at almost 1,300 European investment funds with combined assets under management of €525 billion, all of which claim to be sustainable. Some 40% of them were found to still have fossil investments.

In the Netherlands, the team looked at 200 funds and found more than half of them still invested too heavily in oil and gas companies.

The ESMA guidelines state that funds with an environmental term such as “green” or “net zero” in their name shouldn’t invest in companies that derive more than 1% of their revenues from coal, more than 10% of their revenues from oil, or more than 50% of their revenues from natural gas. 

ABN Amro told FTM their ESG funds can include fossil companies, “based on the client’s preferences”. 

“Different criteria, including exclusions, apply to the different sustainability profiles,” the company said in a statement.

Dutch investors association VEB, by contrast, said it considers that investment funds that call themselves sustainable should halt all their investments in fossil fuels. 

The Dutch financial watchdog AFM told FTM it would “call to account” asset managers who do not comply, but didn’t give specifics on what this would entail.

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