Dutch pension fund divests €2.8bn from Shell, BP and other fossil fuel firms
PFZW, the €237.8bn pension fund for workers in the Dutch healthcare and welfare sector has confirmed that it has now sold off the bulk of its fossil fuel holdings, including positions in Shell, BP and Total Energies
The decision comes after a two-year engagement programme whereby the pension fund stepped up its dialogue with the firms with the aim of ensuring that their business strategy was Paris Aligned.
However, having found that these companies made insufficient progress in the transition to a cleaner energy mix, PFZW sold off stakes in 310 oil and gas companies where it held a combined stake of €2.8bn.
Joanne Kellermann, chair of the board at PFZW commented on the decision: “The intensive shareholder dialogue over the past two years with the oil and gas sector on climate has made it clear to us that most fossil fuel companies are not prepared to adapt their business models to ‘Paris’. While the largest companies in this sector do invest in sustainable forms of energy, the switch from fossil to low carbon is not nearly fast enough” she warned.
PFZW also announced that it remains invested in seven firms which it believes to be frontrunners in the energy transition. These are Cosan S.A., Galp Energia, Granuul Invest, Neste Oyj, OMV A.G., Raízen S.A. and Worley Limited.
By the end of the decade, PFZW plans to have 15% of its overall assets invested in climate solutions.
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In the past, PFZW has been an active player in asset-owner led stewardship efforts at Shell and BP and has backed activist resolutions on climate put forward by Follow This. It has also been the lead engager for Shell on behalf of Climate Action 100+ alongside Dutch asset manager MN. It remains yet to be confirmed who will take the stewardship lead now.
Colin Tissen, advisor responsible investment at PFZW said in a social media post that in future, the fund would pivot its engagement efforts towards the largest consumers of fossil fuels.
“Recognizing that the responsibility for transitioning away from fossil fuels extends beyond oil and gas companies, both suppliers and consumers must evolve. Crucially, this evolution requires a supportive policy environment” he added.
The announcement to divest from fossil fuel holdings comes after Exxon Mobil confirmed earlier this month that it intends to challenge activist shareholder resolutions in court, reflecting mounting challenges for stewardship at oil and gas giants.