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27 Oct 2021

Daniel Boffey, The Guardian

ABP, one of world’s biggest pension funds, to stop investing in fossil fuels

'One of world’s biggest pension funds to stop investing in fossil fuels' 26 October 2021

One of the world’s largest pension funds, ABP, is selling its €15bn-worth of holdings in fossil fuel companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, claiming it had been unable to persuade the sector to transition quickly enough towards decarbonisation.

Corien Wortmann-Kool, the chair of ABP, the Dutch pension fund for civil servants and teachers, said it would no longer invest in producers of oil, gas and coal, and that it would dispense with its current investments in those sectors by the first quarter of 2023...

She said: “We want to contribute to minimising global warming to 1.5C. Large groups of pension participants and employers indicate how important this is to them...

ABF has holdings in about 80 companies in the fossil fuel sector, accounting for almost 3% of its €528bn total assets. In September, the climate action group Fossil Free launched a lawsuit against the fund seeking a ruling on whether ABP needed to divest from fossil fuels in order to align its investment policy with its promise to adhere to the Paris climate agreement.

That followed a ruling in May from a court in The Hague, which ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its global carbon emissions by 45% by the end of 2030 compared with 2019 levels, in a landmark case brought by Friends of the Earth...

McKenzie Ursch, a legal adviser for Follow This...“This foreshadows a new wave of litigation against major GHG [greenhouse gas] emitters, and indicates that oil majors and large investors have an individual responsibility to combat climate change.”